05Sep 05 Sept. Wednesday of Week Twenty Two

1 Cor 3:1ff. People caught up in envy are still “infants,” while ministers of the gospel are “God’s co-workers.”

Luke 4:38ff. Jesus heals Simon Peter’s mother-in-law, then presses onward to announce the reign of God.

The Winding Road To Heaven

Arriving at Simon Peter’s home, Jesus learns that the apostle’s mother-in-law is “in the grip of a severe fever.” We note of the sequence of events. The story, in being told over and over again, has been reduced to its bare bones, those details helpful for catechetical instruction: 1) the mother-in-law is found critically sick; 2) friends intercede with Jesus and pray for her; 3) Jesus stands over her and addresses the fever; 4) she gets up immediately and waits on them.

After the woman’s miraculous cure, one might expect everything to stop and total, ecstatic attention to centre on Jesus. That was not what actually happened. Life returned to the normal routine of caring for one another. “She got up immediately and waited on them.” The family setting is enhanced when we hear that the people around Jesus “interceded with him for her.” This endorses the practice of praying for one another and of asking the saints to intercede for us. The family reaches outward to all God’s friends.

But this does not happen easily, or quickly. Even Paul’s converts did not follow any shortcut to heaven but often seemed to lose their way. He calls them “infants,” not adults, not yet ready for solid food. Like children they were quarreling over petty matters. Well, it looked petty when contrasted with true devotion for Jesus. They were split apart into jealous communities and claimed different spiritual leaders. Religion was being “used” and their natural tendency to pride and independence ended up in ridiculous ecclesiastical bickering. Paul reminds them that every church leader was God’s co-worker and that the church is nobody’s private property, or rather, “you are God’s garden.”

First Reading: 1 Corinthians 3:1-9

But I, brethren, could not address you as spiritual men, but as men of the flesh, as babes in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food; for you were not ready for it; and even yet you are not ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving like ordinary men? For when one says, “I belong to Paul,” and another, “I belong to Apollos,” are you not merely men?

What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are equal, and each shall receive his wages according to his labour. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.

Gospel: Luke 4:38-44

After leaving the synagogue he entered Simon’s house. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked him about her. Then he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. Immediately she got up and began to serve them.

As the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various kinds of diseases brought them to him; and he laid his hands on each of them and cured them. Demons also came out of many, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Messiah.

At daybreak he departed and went into a deserted place. And the crowds were looking for him; and when they reached him, they wanted to prevent him from leaving them. But he said to them, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose.” So he continued proclaiming the message in the synagogues of Judea.

One Response

  1. Eddie Finnegan

    I’m trying to get my head around a commentary on today’s Gospel which acknowledges that the oft-told story usually reduces to its bare bones for a few catechetical purposes, yet goes on to treat it as little more than a source which “endorses the practice of praying for one another and of asking the saints to intercede for us.”

    If all or most of Simon Peter’s apostolic successors were heads of village or urban households with wives and mothers-in-law who sometimes go down with fever but more usually are busy keeping food on the table, we could imagine this Gospel being commented upon with no mention of Simon the Fisherman’s living arrangements or his family’s standing in the immediate community. The family setting would just be routine, requiring no comment. Maybe if today’s apostles, fishers of men, overseers, presbyters had wives and mothers-in-law to worry about, the family setting would be enhanced but so too would the ‘Sharing Good News’ project the fisherman was branching out into.

    No doubt Paul the bachelor was the exception, but the exception became the rule. I can’t remember whether Apollos had wife or mother-in-law to impede him?