Date: Sunday, February 04, 2018
“On leaving the synagogue Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John” Mark 1:29. Early travelers to Capernaum had recognized the beautiful remains of the ancient synagogue but where was the site of Simon Peter’s home where Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law? Twenty five years ago Italian excavators discovered a house beneath the ruins of a Byzantine Church. Why would Christian build a church over the site of a house unless the place is significant? There is substantial circumstantial evidence (storage jars and oil lamps) that indeed this house, after the death and resurrection of Jesus, became the focal point of Christian gatherings and worship – a House Church! Archaeologists have found inscriptions: “Lord Jesus Christ help thy servant” and “Christ have mercy”.
Here, in this house, Jesus heals Peter’s mother-n-law, he finds rest on the Sabbath, and after sunset, Jesus heals the sick and those possessed by demons who gather outside the door. Rising early in morning before dawn Jesus goes off to a deserted place for prayer. When his disciples fine him, they move on to other villages. What a beautiful snapshot of a day in the life of Jesus.
There are other “healers” and exorcists at the time of Jesus who use elaborate incantations, spells and magical rites but Jesus expels an evil spirit with the power of his voice: “Quiet. Come out of him.” Jesus heals Peter’s mother-in-law in bed with a fever by grasping her hand and helping her up. Jesus heals by a powerful word and then by a gentle touch.
The memory of Jesus healing is so ingrained in the believing community that it becomes the hallmark of the Catholic Church. “In-patient medical care, in the sense of what we today consider a hospital, was an innovation driven by Christian mercy” -- Wikipedia.
Because of the outbreak of the flu Bishop Malone is asking us to refrain from sharing the Precious Blood and to be reserved in extending the sign of peace. But today, on the first Saturday of the month that happens to be the feast of St. Blaise, we will have the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick and the Sacramental Blessing of Throats at the end of Mass.