Wednesday, January 13 ~ First Week in Ordinary Time
Saint Hilary of Poitiers, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
Holy Gospel: Mark 1:29-39 On leaving the synagogue Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever. They immediately told him about her. He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. Then the fever left her and she waited on them. When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons. The whole town was gathered at the door. He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak because they knew him. Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed. Simon and those who were with him pursued him and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.” He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come.” So he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee.
Meditation: Who do you take your troubles to? A self-help book? An advice columnist on a blog or app? A TV talk show host? What about Christ? Jesus’ disciples freely brought their troubles to him because they found him ready and able to deal with any difficulty, affliction, or sickness which they encountered. When Simon brought Jesus to his home, his mother-in-law was instantly healed because Jesus heard Simon’s prayer. Saint Jerome reflects on this passage: “Can you imagine Jesus standing before your bed and you continue sleeping? It is absurd that you would remain in bed in his presence. Where is Jesus? He is already here offering himself to us. ‘In the middle,’ he says, ‘among you he stands, whom you do not recognize’ (ref. John 1:26) ‘The kingdom of God is in your midst’ (ref. Mark 1:15). Faith beholds Jesus among us. If we are unable to seize his hand, let us prostrate ourselves at his feet. If we are unable to reach his head, let us wash his feet with our tears. Our repentance is the perfume of the Savior. See how costly is the compassion of the Savior.”
Prayer: Grant, we pray, almighty God, that we may rightly understand and truthfully profess the divinity of your Son, which the Bishop Saint Hilary taught with such constancy. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Contemplation: Do you allow Jesus to be first in your life? Do you make the Lord and healer number one in your personal life, family, and community, especially in times of trial, challenge, fears and anxiety? Learn to approach Christ with expectant faith. God’s healing power restores us not only to health but to active service and care of others. There is no trouble he does not want to help us with, and there is no bondage from which he cannot set us free.