It is painful to want to be able to do something and discover that you are now unable. Perhaps we are fatigued physically or mentally and we must rest. Our age may contribute to our inability to do what we once did so easily. Illness also limits our abilities. In the Gospel, Simon’s mother-in-law had been looking forward to his visit along with his friend, a new and dynamic teacher. She wanted everything to be just right. She had been preparing for days because she was known for her hospitality.
As the special day arrives, she is so ill that she cannot rise from her bed. We have all experienced this feeling. All she wants to do is serve her guests, but today, she cannot even sit up. We can also understand the alarms Simon felt as he entered her house, expecting to be greeted by her exceptional hospitality. However, he finds the house quiet, undecorated and there is no aroma of prepared foods. Even more startling is the scene of his mother-in-law confined to bed. An event he has never witnessed before.
Simon’s mother-in-law meets Jesus, as we all do, in our weaknesses and needs. Perhaps more painful than her illness was her inability to fulfill her offer of hospitality. With a word, Jesus calls the illness from her body and her health is restored. Our Lord delighted in curing her just as He delights in our healing.
We see the heart of Jesus in this passage. He spends most of the day healing the people of the town and continues into the night. In fact, the whole town was gathered at the door to receive Jesus’ blessings.
Rising early the next morning, before anyone else had awakened, Jesus found a deserted place to pray. When the Disciples find Him, they point out that His fame had increased. Instead of staying where it had become comfortable, Jesus tells them that He is a servant of God and must move on.
How many servants of God have fallen because of human respect and admiration led to pride? After they made a name for themselves, service to others became a thing of the past.
In the Second Reading, St. Paul tells us how to live out our discipleship. He basically repeats what Jesus says in Matthew 10:9, “Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.”