Gather at his door – Wednesday, 1st Week in Ordinary time – Mark 1:29-39
While I am not a big fan of the superscriptions added to the Gospel passages in the Bible, I quite like this one. The RSV Bible has the title as, ‘Jesus heals many at Simon’s house.’ When you read the passage, your eyes ought to naturally settle on the narrative of Simon’s mother-in-law. She lived a stone’s throw away from the synagogue in Capernaum but on this day, she was too ill to attend. She had missed the words of Jesus that had left every one amazed. His words were not the only thing that stirred Capernaum. There in the synagogue, was a resident evil. It is from this man that Jesus expels satan.
Simon’s mother-in-law was too sick to go to synagogue but Jesus was not too busy to visit her. He is told of her fever. Fevers at the time of Jesus was the Covid of today; it could swing any way and death was not uncommon. The response of Simons mother-in-law to this act of healing has been explained in a previous article I wrote called love without measure. (You can read it by clicking the link) https://www.pottypadre.com/love-beyond-measure/
What draws me in reflection today is the closing verses of today’s text. Jesus has healed Simon’s mother-in-law and cast out a demon from a man in the synagogue. Good news spread fast and Capernaum was in need of good news. Here was a Rabbi who spoke with authority and acted with authority. We are told that ALL who were sick or possessed with demons were brought to Simon’s doorstep. In fact, the whole city was gathered there (verse 33). They knew who had the power to heal, they knew where they had to go.
For the second time in a couple of verses Jesus casts out demons. From the first page to the last, the Gospel of Mark immerses us into the immediacy of Christ’s war against the forces of evil. The forces of evil lurk in the background throughout the whole Gospel of Mark, unmasked and cast out by Jesus at every turn. Emerging victorious from the first battle with satan during the temptation in the desert in Mark 1, Jesus continues his campaign against the Devil throughout Galilee, waging a war of words joined with mighty deeds.
In this and the previous text, Jesus does not permit the evil one to speak (verse 25 and 34). They know who Jesus is (verse 24 and 34). While the evil one may contemptuously address Our Lord by his human title, ‘Jesus of Nazareth’, he knew very well of his divinity, for he says ‘we know who you are, the Holy one of God,’ They know of his power to ‘destroy them.’
Think of it, we have the Holy one of God on our side. It is he who comes to defeat the evil one who has taken residence in so many lives. It is he who torments and tortures souls and sadly even numbs many to believe that Our Lord does not exist and religion is a hoax.