Set us free, O God, from the bondage of our sins, and give us the liberty of that abundant life which you have made known to us in your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
1st Corinthians 89:16-23
This morning’s reading picks up right where last week’s lesson ended. Jesus along with four of his disciples had just come from the synagogue where Jesus had spoken with the people there and Mark tells us that the people were astonished by Jesus’ works because in him, they had heard someone who spoke with authority. He was unlike anyone they had ever heard before and in addition to his powerful message of the Good News, Jesus also had cast out an unclean spirit from a man who was there in the synagogue. Jesus merely spoke and the demon came out of the man.
Following the service, the men had gone to the home of Peter probably in order to share a noon meal. When they arrived, Peter informed Jesus that his mother-in-law was suffering with a “burning fever,” a disease that is common still today in this part of the world. While there were those who would claim to be able to cure the fever, it would take days and various rites and incantations and then there was no guarantee that a cure would take place. Jesus simply entered the room, took the woman’s hand and lifted her up and the woman was well again.
In the morning, Jesus had cast out a demon with his voice. In the afternoon it only took the touch of his hand to heal Peter’s mother-n-law. And, in both instances we see the power and authority that Jesus possessed.
Mark goes on to tell his readers that in the evening the entire community arrived at Peter’s doorstep bringing all those who were sick and possessed with demons. It would appear that Jesus may have spent the better part of the evening healing all those who had come out.
The sad part of the story is that these people didn’t come to Jesus because they recognized him as the Messiah. They had no idea who he was. They merely came out because they wanted something from him. How often to we come to Jesus with our prayers merely wanting something. Mark tells us that early the next morning the disciples found Jesus alone in prayer. It would appear that Jesus knew and understood the need to go to his father daily in prayer. How is it that many may not see the need to do the same in our own lives?
Do we take time each day to praise God or do we simply bring our list of wants and needs asking for God’s blessing along with all the “stuff” we so earnestly think we need? God wants to answer our prayers and he wants to provide us with good things, but first we need to praise his holy name and acknowledge his power and presence in our lives each day.
Jesus told his disciples that he had come to proclaim the God’s message to the people and that is the task that he left for you and me to do when he returned to his father in heaven.
And, with God’s help we can fulfill that task knowing that God is good…all the time.
An Act of Spiritual Communion
“My Jesus, I believe that you are present in the holy sacrament of your body and blood. I love you above all things and I desire to receive you into my soul. Since I cannot at this time receive you sacramentally, I invite you to come spiritually into my heart. I embrace you as if you were here with me and I unite myself with you fully. Never permit me to be separated from you. Amen
A Prayer for the Church and Benediction:
Almighty and everliving God, ruler of all things in heaven and earth, hear our prayers this parish family. Strengthen the faithful, arouse the careless, and restore the penitent. Grant us all things necessary for our common life, and bring us all to be of one heart and mind within your holy Church; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
May the peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit be among you, and remain with you always. Amen.