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Thursday, 04 February 2021 13:57

Celebrating At Home - 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time

On the journey with Jesus

The story of Jesus’ first day of ministry in Capernaum continues in the Gospel for this Sunday. After leaving the synagogue where he has healed the possessed man Jesus goes to Simon’s house. He heals Simon’s mother-in-law and restores her to her rightful place as hospitality provider - a sacred ministry in Jewish households. No words are spoken. Jesus simply holds her hand and helps her up. In doing so he would have broken taboos about touching a sick person, and touching a woman to whom he was not related. But in Mark’s Gospel law and custom cannot stand in the way of God’s healing power.

That evening, after sunset, after the Sabbath day was over, people begin to bring the sick and possessed to Jesus for healing.

Notice how ‘local’ all these elements of Mark’s story are: a local man in the local synagogue, a local woman in her own house, local people crowd around the door, local people are brought for healing.

In all the healing stories, Mark presents Jesus in conversation with each individual. There are no ‘en masse’ healings – each person gets individual treatment – sometimes with words, sometimes by

touch, sometimes both. There is a sense of intimacy in Jesus’ healing ministry.

Interestingly, the devils seem to know exactly who Jesus is, but the human beings take much longer to recognise Jesus.

In the early morning Jesus goes off to pray by himself. Jesus prays both in public worship in the

Synagogue and in moments of quiet communion with God. Mark helps us understand that both are necessary for would-be disciples. Jesus begins and ends his day in prayer.

When they find Jesus the disciples beg him to return to the town, but Jesus has other ideas. His preaching and healing is not only for the people of Capernaum, but for the whole people of Galilee.

No doubt, the disciples enjoyed being in the presence of such a wonder-worker as Jesus! But Jesus’ focus is not himself; it is his mission of proclaiming the Good News of God’s love through healing words and actions. The healing stories underline the idea that contact with God through the person of Jesus brings healing and wholeness, not death and destruction.

The preaching of Jesus together with the healing/ wholeness stories is fundamentally about the transformation of real, living human beings into the new People of God.

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Celebrating at Home is a Liturgy of the Word centred around the Gospel reading for each Sunday. It includes a reflection on the Gospel and prayers.

It can be used personally or with your family. Parts for all to pray are given in bold print and all the other parts can be shared among those present.

We hope that Celebrating at Home will be a source of nourishment and strength for all who use it.

In the room you decide to use for this prayer you could have a lighted candle, a crucifix and the Bible. These symbols help keep us mindful of the sacredness of our time of prayer and can help us feel connected with our local worshipping communities.

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