Sunday, 8 February 2015

Thoughts from our Chaplain - Fifth Sunday

The Gospel reading from the 5th Sunday continues Saint Mark’s portrayal of the first days of Jesus’ public life. We are told how Jesus leaving the synagogue after expelling the demon from the possessed man went to the house of Simon Peter to visit along with Andrew James and John.  Peter’s mother in law was ill and when Jesus heard this he went into the sick woman and taking her hand cured her of the fever . She immediately got out of bed and began to serve Jesus as her way of showing how thankful she was for having been cured.  This immediately shows us two things about Jesus; firstly that he attended the synagogue and like any adult male started to preach on the reading; secondly, it introduces the ministry of Jesus healing the sick.

I would like to pick up on something I mentioned in my last entry.  As we read the gospel accounts of Jesus healing the sick there is one major theme that flows through most of them.  His healing ministry does not involve his sweeping a town and generally curing the people with a sweep of his hand.  The cures which the gospels writers take the trouble to write about  all show that the people had faith in Jesus and showed this in various ways; they touched his clothes, asked if he would cure them, and when he asked what they wanted they would answer, let us see or make us clean again or heal my daughter.  That was how Jesus’ miracles occurred.  He saw the faith of the people who wanted to be cured and he cured them.

As this reading continues we here that people came from the whole surrounding area bringing there sick to be cured; they had faith that he could and would do this.  This expression of faith is something which is at the very foundation of intercessory prayer and which is also a basic part of our ministry here at the National Shrine of Saint Jude.  Pilgrims undertake a journey to come here to ask Saint Jude to lay their intercessions before the heavenly throne of our loving Father.  If the faithful cannot make it here to Faversham then the same faith can be shown in letter/email and we will take care of seeing that your request is placed before Saint Jude.

Just a final note; at the end of this reading Jesus takes his disciples off to a quiet place to pray.  This is another side of Jesus – he is active in his ministry but also need time with his Father in prayer.  We need the same.

Fr Michael Manning, O.Carm.