Thought for the Day from Katharine Salmon of St Chad’s:
Reflection on Luke 4 38-44 and questions for action
The Gospel today narrates four different events: the cure of Peter’s mother-in-law (Lk 4:38-39), the cure of many sick people at night, after Saturday (Lk 4:40-41), the prayer of Jesus in a deserted place (Lk 4:42) and His insistence on the mission (Lk 4: 43-44). With small differences Luke follows and adapts the text taken from the Gospel of Mark.
Luke 4:38-39: Jesus restores life for service. After having participated in the celebration of Saturday in the synagogue, Jesus goes to Peter’s house and cures his mother-in-law. The cure causes her to render service immediately. Having recovered her health and dignity, she places herself at the service of the people. Jesus not only cures, but He cures in such a way that the person places herself at the service of life. How do we serve today?
Luke 4:40-41: Jesus accepts and cures the marginalized. At night, when the first stars appear in the sky, after Saturday is over, Jesus accepts and cures the sick and those possessed whom the people bring to Him. The sick and the possessed were the most marginalized people at that time. They had no one to whom to go. They were at the mercy of public charity; besides, religion considered them impure. They could not participate in the community. It was as if God rejected and excluded them. Jesus accepts and cures them, placing His hands on each one of them. Thus, it is clear in what the Good News of God consists and what He wants to do in people’s lives: to accept the marginalized and the excluded and to integrate them into the community, to live with others. How might we remember that it is Christian Aid week in lockdown?
Luke 4:42a: To remain united to the Father by means of prayer. “When daylight came He left the house and made His way to a lonely place. The crowds went to look for Him, and when they had caught up with Him they wanted to prevent Him from leaving them.” Here we see Jesus praying. He has to make an enormous effort to have time available and a place suitable for prayer. He goes to a deserted place to be able to stay alone with God. How can we pray at home?
Luke 4:42b-44: To maintain consciousness of one’s own mission and not think about the result. Jesus becomes known. People follow Him and they do not want Him to leave them. Jesus does not grant this petition and says, “I must proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of God to the other towns too, because that is what I was sent to do.” Jesus was very clear about His mission. He does not stop at the result that He has already obtained, but He wishes to sustain His awareness of His mission. It is the mission received from the Father which directs Him when He has to make a decision. “I have been sent for this!” And here in this text this consciousness which is so alive springs up as the fruit of His prayer. Who do we need to bring good news to today?
Personal questions for reflection today:
● Jesus spent much time in prayer and being alone with God. Can I do the same?
● Jesus had a clear awareness of His mission. As a Christian, am I conscious that I have a mission, or do I live without a mission? Our mission at the moment may be very unclear!