The Gospel reading for today, the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time, tells stories of healings and teaches about discipleship.
On leaving the synagogue, Jesus went with James and John straight to the house of Simon and Andrew. Now Simon’s mother-in-law had gone to bed with fever, and they told him about her straightaway. He went to her, took her by the hand and helped her up. And the fever left her and she began to wait on them.
That evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were sick and those who were possessed by devils. The whole town came crowding round the door, and he cured many who were suffering from diseases of one kind or another; he also cast out many devils, but he would not allow them to speak, because they knew who he was.
In the morning, long before dawn, he got up and left the house, and went off to a lonely place and prayed there. Simon and his companions set out in search of him, and when they found him they said, ‘Everybody is looking for you.’
He answered, ‘Let us go elsewhere, to the neighbouring country towns, so that I can preach there too, because that is why I came.’ And he went all through Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out devils.
Jesus is less concerned for those who are looking for him. He is more concerned for those who do not know of the love and care of God for all people everywhere, always.
The Gospel restores a certain independence to those who receive it – not independence from God but freedom from those things that otherwise distract and bind us.
Peter is preoccupied with managing Jesus. His mother in law is happy to receive new life, to love and serve.
Images of the 20th C church built over the remains of the 1st century house of St Peter, contained within the octagonal walls of churches of the 4th and 5th centuries. Capernaum, Galilee. Photographs (c) 2007, 2012, 2013, Allen Morris.