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The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

February 7, 2021 – Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Mark 1:29-39

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Many years ago, I was enrolled in doctoral courses dealing with Holy Scripture. In a course on the Gospel of Mark, we were discussing its first chapter and the learned professor was commenting on today’s gospel. He loved to add thoughts about aspects of the text many failed to notice. So, he did. That’s what scripture scholars do.

His insight had to do with Peter’s mother-in-law. Some scholars like to point out that this indicated that Peter (the first pope) was married. That’s the only way to acquire in-laws.

But my professor saw another aspect of this account. It was this! It was NOT Peter who requested that his mother-in-law be cured, but rather an anonymous “they.” Peter might have said nothing. My professor added that this might be a mother-in-law joke of that time. Perhaps.

Also, many have noted that immediately after being cured, she went right to work preparing a meal for her guests. In other words, when you receive a gift, pass it on to others. Much to think about there.

Further, this gospel, which described one of the first days in the public ministry of Jesus, suggests that once he began his ministry, he got right to work. No time to waste. On one day he healed those who were sick, he drove evil spirits from those possessed, he taught the compelling truth of God to the ignorant, and he even found time to pray. And he continued doing all this day after day.

This shows Jesus as a true multi-tasker. And all of what he did was important. Every act, no matter how seemingly insignificant, contributed to the building of God’s New Creation.

And should not the same be said about us? We all do a lot each day, especially in the service of others. Like for members of our family, neighbors, friends near and far, co-workers, even strangers. And like Jesus, our ministry is not only planned by us, but even more importantly (I believe), it comes to us as others come our way seeking a good word, a healing smile, and a helping hand.

©David M. Thomas, PhD

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