Lectio Divina: Luke 4:38-44
1) Opening prayer
every good thing comes from You.
Fill our hearts with love for You,
increase our faith,
and by Your constant care
protect the good You have given us.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
2) Gospel Reading - Luke 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.
● The Gospel today narrates four different events: the cure of Peter’s mother-in-law (Lk 4:38-39), the cure of many sick people at night, after Saturday (Lk 4:40-41), the prayer of Jesus in a deserted place (Lk 4:42) and His insistence on the mission (Lk 4: 43-44). With small differences Luke follows and adapts the information taken from the Gospel of Mark.
● Luke 4:38-39: Jesus restores life for service. After having participated in the celebration of Saturday in the synagogue, Jesus goes to Peter’s house and cures his mother-in-law. The cure causes her to render service immediately. Having recovered her health and dignity, she places herself at the service of the people. Jesus not only cures, but He cures in such a way that the person places herself at the service of life.
● Luke 4:40-41: Jesus accepts and cures the marginalized. At night, when the first stars appear in the sky, after Saturday is over, Jesus accepts and cures the sick and those possessed whom the people bring to Him. The sick and the possessed were the most marginalized people at that time. They had no one to whom to go. They were at the mercy of public charity; besides, religion considered them impure. They could not participate in the community. It was as if God rejected and excluded them. Jesus accepts and cures them, placing His hands on each one of them. Thus, it is clear in what the Good News of God consists and what He wants to do in people’s lives: to accept the marginalized and the excluded and to integrate them into the community, to live with others.
“Devils came out of many people shouting: “You are the Son of God!” But He warned them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that He was the Christ.” At that time the title Son of God did not have as yet the density and depth that it has for us today. Jesus did not allow the devils to speak. He did not want an easy propaganda based on spectacular expulsions.
● Luke 4:42a: To remain united to the Father by means of prayer. “When daylight came He left the house and made His way to a lonely place. The crowds went to look for Him, and when they had caught up with Him they wanted to prevent Him from leaving them.” Here we see Jesus praying. He has to make an enormous effort to have time available and a place suitable for prayer. He goes to a deserted place to be able to stay alone with God. Many times the Gospels speak about Jesus’ prayer, in silence (Lk 3:21-22; 4: 1-2, 3-12; 5:15-16; 6:12; 9:18; 10:21; 11:1; 23:34; Mt 14:22-23; 26:38; Jn 11:41-42; 17:1-26; Mk1:35;). Through prayer, He maintains His consciousness of His mission.
● Luke 4:42b-44: To maintain consciousness of one’s own mission and not think about the result. Jesus becomes known. People follow Him and they do not want Him to leave them. Jesus does not grant this petition and says, “I must proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of God to the other towns too, because that is what I was sent to do.” Jesus was very clear about His mission. He does not stop at the result that He has already obtained, but He wishes to sustain His awareness of His mission. It is the mission received from the Father which directs Him when He has to make a decision. “I have been sent for this!” And here in this text this consciousness which is so alive springs up as the fruit of His prayer.
4) Personal questions
● Jesus spent much time in prayer and being alone with the Father, and He looked for this time. Do I dedicate time for prayer and solitude with God?
● Jesus had a clear awareness of His mission. As a Christian, am I conscious that I have a mission, or do I live without a mission?
5) Concluding Prayer
We are waiting for Yahweh;
he is our help and our shield,
for in Him our heart rejoices;
in His holy name we trust. (Ps 33:20-21)