Feb 8, 2009

The Whole Town Gathered at the Door

The Gospel paints an interesting picture today...

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.

The whole town? Wow! This says a lot to me about the context of Jesus' life and ministry. Does the Gospel writer mean to imply that nearly everyone in the town was suffering from some kind of malady? Or were people so entranced by Jesus' healings that they couldn't help but stay away?

Or were people scandalized by this and had to come and check it out for themselves?

Perhaps it's a bit of all three. After all, while the whole town was gathered at the door Jesus only cured "many who were sick" --perhaps some were unable to be cured or wished not to be cured.

It is here that I take my jumping off point. Sickness is curable, but only if we really want to be cured. For some of us, spiritually speaking, we think we have no need for a physician. We know better than God and are happy to stay mired in our own sinful ways. It's easier to stay drunk than to seek help, it's easier to keep our distance than to get involved, it's easier to sit on the couch than to seek what we are really called to, especially when that may be scary.

From what do we need healing?

Where do we need to reconcile to heal hatred or misunderstanding? Where have we offended not just one another but God? Do we bring those "illnesses" before God and ask his help in removing what ails us from becoming spiritually whole.

The second point is more systemic. The people of this town were undoubtedly poor. They were the so-called "dregs of society." We should think of them as we picture or have seen the slums of the third world. Most people could not pull themselves out of poverty. Many people were kept in poverty because the Romans continued their oppressive rule.

As first world people--who do we keep down so that we might be that much more comfortable? Who can we bring healing to and by doing so also provide ourselves with much needed spiritual healing? How do we get in touch with the rhythms of the poor and in turn, try to provide them at least some temporary relief from what ails them.

We cannot do it all...we cannot heal ourselves nor can we bring all people to a more fulfilled sense of their own healing. It is what every addicted person knows all too well: We are powerless over what makes us sick.

For any of this to occur, we need Jesus. We need to come into that house and acknowledge that indeed God alone has the power to save us.

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Googling God

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