When Jesus carried Jonathan. Saturday, 19th Week in ordinary time- Matthew 19: 13-15
The chatter about this new rabbi, Jesus, had reached an excited pitch in the town of Thamna, and Sapphira rushed in to tell Bernice what everyone was talking about. Bernice was unconcerned; her priority, as she rocked her crying baby, was to get him to quieten down. ‘If only’, she thought to herself, ‘she could get the new Rabbi in town to calm this baby who would not stop bawling’.
Three weeks of sleepless nights had made her a wreck. Sapphira would have done well to carry her baby for a while, instead she kept chattering away about Jesus; the excitement in Sapphira’s already shrill voice only made the baby cry more.
But Sapphira was not the only one excited about Jesus. News had trickled out of Capernaum; a girl, the daughter of Jarius the synagogue ruler, had been raised to life by Jesus. Sapphira‘s mouth never exhausted and even more now. All that Bernice heard was, ‘Jesus did this and Jesus did that’. All Bernice wished for was if Jesus could just get this baby to stop bawling; she needed the rest.
Thamna’s market place was abuzz too. The talk that hit the market square was dominated by the distinct compassionate character of this Rabbi, Jesus. He spoke with authority they said, unlike their own religious leaders and many had begun to regard Him as the Messiah.
The Pharisees were not too pleased with the developments; rumour had it that they were plotting a way to get rid of Him. That accounted for the hushed tones, in the market square for no one wanted to offend the rabbis. The escalating price of olives, which dominated yesterday’s news, was overshadowed by the story of the child from whom a demoniac had been cast off. Could this really be the Messiah?
Bernice by now, had enough of her baby boy. The inconsolable crying had left her little Jonathan flushed and red in the face. Surely this wonderworking Rabbi or His disciples would help her. But doubt crossed her mind; would such famous rabbi pity a woman such as her? Perhaps she should take the baby to the disciples rather than disturb the Master.
But Sapphira who always seemed to know what was going on in town said that she heard that His disciples were not as efficacious as their master. There was talk that they had tried to unsuccessful cast out the demon from a boy at the foot hills of Mt Tabor and that Jesus had rebuked their little faith.
Bernice took her chance and trudged off under the hot Judean sun arriving at the place where Jesus was teaching. She heard the confrontation between the Pharisees and Jesus on divorce. He had spoken wisely. It was not the issue of divorce that needed to be answered; Jesus had rightly shifted the debate to where it should have begun; at the doorstep of their understanding of marriage.
Bernice liked what she heard and even more Jonathan had calmed down just listening to His soothing voice. If only He could lay His hands on her son and pray over him. That seemed like a difficult proposition for His disciples could not seem to get a grip of the crowd that was pressing around Him. There were so many thrusting their children forward, some on their shoulders, just to get Him to touch their child.
Would the disciple Judas put in a word for her, she asked? He scoffed and along with the others, rebuked the crowd sternly for disturbing the master. Bernice was in tears, her heart heavy for she believed in the words of this compassionate Messiah. She knew in her heart that He was the one come to save Israel. Then above the din she heard His voice, “Let the children come to me and do not stop them, for it to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.”
Bernice got a taste of heaven on earth when Jesus picked up Jonathan and kissed Him. Jonathan smiled like he had never done before. She knew in her heart that her sweet baby would never be tormented again by pain. He was healed.
She watched Him walk away. Running behind Him was a rich young man asking Him what he needed to do to have eternal life. She did not need the answer, she knew it.
Fr Warner D’Souza
Dedicated to mothers with new born babies.
Spread the love ♥