GOSPEL COMMENTARY: JESUS CURES THE SICK (Lk 4:38–44).
After Jesus left the synagogue, he entered the house of Simon. Simon’s mother-in-law was afflicted with a severe fever, and they interceded with him about her. He stood over her, rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up immediately and waited on them.
At sunset, all who had people sick with various diseases brought them to him. He laid his hands on each of them and cured them. And demons also came out from many, shouting, “You are the Son of God.” But he rebuked them and did not allow them to speak because they knew that he was the Christ.
At daybreak, Jesus left and went to a deserted place. The crowds went looking for him, and when they came to him, they tried to prevent him from leaving them. But he said to them, “To the other towns also I must proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God, because for this purpose I have been sent.” And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.
Gospel Commentary from the Navarre Bible, Commentary to the Gospel of St. Luke (with permission)
- The curing of Peter’s mother-in-law
- 38-39 In the public life of Jesus we find many touching episodes (cf. for example Lk 19:1; Jn 2:1) which help us realize his high expectation of everyday family life.
- Here we can clearly see the effectiveness of prayer on behalf of other people:
- “No sooner did they pray to the Saviour,” St Jerome says, “than he immediately healed the sick: from this we learn that he also listens to the prayers of the faithful for help against sinful passions” (Expositio in Evangelium sec. Lucam, in loc.).
- St John Chrysostom refers to this total instantaneous cure: “Since this was a curable type of illness he displayed his power through the way he brought healing, doing what medicine could not do. Even after being cured of fever, patients need time to recover their former strength, but here the cure was instantaneous” (Hom. on St Matthew, 27).
- The Fathers saw in this lady’s fever a symbol of concupiscence: “Peter’s mother-in-law’s fever represents our flesh affected by various illnesses and concupiscences; our fever is passion, our fever is lust, our fever is anger — vices which, although they affect the body, perturb the soul, the mind and the feelings” (St Ambrose, Expositio evangelii sec. Lucam, in loc.).
- On the practical consequences of this St Cyril says: “Let us receive Jesus Christ, because when he visits us and we take him into our minds and hearts, even our worst passions are extinguished and we are kept safe to serve him, that is, to do what pleases him” (Hom. 28 in Matthew).
- Jesus preaches in other cities in Judea
- 43 Our Lord again stresses one of the reasons why he has come into the world. St Thomas, when discussing the purpose of the Eucharist, says that Christ “came into the world, first, to make the truth known, as he himself says: ‘for this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth’ (in 18:37). Hence it was not fitting that he should hide himself by leading a solitary life, but rather that he should appear openly and preach in public. For this reason he tells those who wanted to detain him, ‘I must preach the good news of the Kingdom of God to the other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose.’ Secondly, he came in order to free men from sin, as the Apostle says, ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’ (1 Tim 1:15). This is why Chrysostom says, ‘Although Christ might, while staying in the same place, have drawn all men to himself to hear his preaching, he did not do so — in order to give us the example to go out and seek the lost sheep, as the shepherd does, or as the doctor does, who visits the sick person’. Thirdly, he came so that ‘we might obtain access to God’ (Rom 5:2).” (Summa theologiae, III, q. 40, a. 1, c.).
TOPIC 1: ARE YOU EXPERIENCING A “MID-LIFE CRISIS” OF FAITH?
In today’s gospel reading, Jesus travels to Simon’s (Peter) house in the latter’s hometown of Capernaum. Jesus had just healed a man possessed by an evil spirit in yesterday’s gospel. After healing Peter’s mother-in-law of her high fever, Jesus heals others who came to Him. And many of them had demons who were exorcised by Him. We reflect on the demons that try to lull us to sickness, particularly of the mind.
TOPIC: Do you realise how powerful your intercessory prayers are?
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