Pope Benedict XVI Prayer Intentions for the September:
The Word of God as Sign of Social Development:
General: That in less developed parts of the world the proclamation of the Word of God may renew people’s hearts, encouraging them to work actively toward authentic social progress.
The End of War:
Missionary: That by opening our hearts to love we may put an end to the numerous wars and conflicts which continue to bloody our world.
Today in Catholic History:
† 1159 – Death of Pope Adrian IV (b. 1100)
† 1948 – Birth of Józef Zycinski, Polish archbishop and philosopher
(From the “On This Day” Blog Site
Quote or Joke of the Day:
Behind every successful man is a proud wife, and a surprised mother-in-law. — Hubert H. Humphrey (He tweaked a Voltaire quote)
Today’s reflection is about Jesus curing Simon’s Mother-in-law.
38 After he [Jesus] left the synagogue, he entered the house of Simon. Simon’s mother-in-law was afflicted with a severe fever, and they interceded with him about her. 39 He stood over her, rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up immediately and waited on them. 40 At sunset, all who had people sick with various diseases brought them to him. He laid his hands on each of them and cured them. 41 And demons also came out from many, shouting, “You are the Son of God.” But he rebuked them and did not allow them to speak because they knew that he was the Messiah. 42 At daybreak, Jesus left and went to a deserted place. The crowds went looking for him, and when they came to him, they tried to prevent him from leaving them. 43 But he said to them, “To the other towns also I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God, because for this purpose I have been sent.” 44 And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea. (NAB Luke 4: 38-44)
As the father of four rambunctious boys, I know well the woes of sick children. Kids bring home weird diseases from school and play time. We have had our bouts of colds, flu, earaches, measles, and even lice and intestinal worms (and those were fun!)!! Thankfully, we have excellent physicians, and have been able to deal with most health issues immediately.
Today’s Gospel reading is about Jesus curing Simon’s mother-in-law. People sick in that time were in for some major trouble with even the slightest ailment. People actually died of toothaches in Jesus’ time. Jesus was a healer as well as a teacher: a true man of all seasons and talents (with the Holy Spirit). Throughout Jesus’ ministry, there was a close relationship between His “teaching” and “healing” offices. When caring for the soul, a spiritual “warfare” sometimes rears its ugly head.
The way Luke arraigned his Gospel, we have yet to be introduced to Simon as a follower of Jesus. Simon’s call doesn’t happen until the next chapter of the Holy Bible. In Mark 29:31, we see Jesus leaving the synagogue and entering the house of Simon and Andrew. And, in Mark’s Gospel, this curing of the mother-in-law is after calling Simon and his brother Andrew to leave their nets and to follow Him. Jesus, also in Mark, enters Simon’s home with James and John.
Simon’s mother-in-law lays sick with a fever. He approached Simon’s Mother-in-Law, grasped her hand, and healed her, and helped her to her feet. The fever immediately leaves her, and the proof of her cure is that she immediately waits on them.
Now, picture this scenario from the mother-in-laws perspective. A strange man walks into her home, approaches her and grabs her hands. What was the mother-in-law feeling, sensing, and experiencing? Was it fear, confusion, ease, or comfort? What did she think when Jesus told her to rise, and the fever immediately left her? Finally, was she concerned that there may not be any good food in the house, or how she was dressed on Jesus’ entrance?
So why the difference in the two Gospels: Simon’s call after curing the mother-in-law in Luke’s Gospel, and before in Mark’s Gospel? Luke probably situated the call of Simon later in his Gospel (his GospelhhLuke 5:11), to counter an earlier rejection of Jesus by His hometown folks of Nazareth.
Prior to this, Luke had already written of several incidents dealing with Jesus’ power and authority; and in this case, Luke creates a reasonable situation for the acceptance of Jesus by Simon and his “business” partners. In Luke’s Gospel, Simon, Andrew, James, and John leave everything behind and follow Jesus. This is a furthering indication of Luke’s theme: complete detachment from material possessions.
The other reason for Luke placing Simon’s call after visiting Simon’s mother-in-law is that it helps the reader to understand Simon’s eagerness to carry out what Jesus says later in Luke 5:4-5: — “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Simon’s responds, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets,” — as well as the command to follow him as was written in Luke 5: 11.
The demons in this Gospel reading knew that Jesus is the “Messiah.” They knew He is “Christ!” The demons knew that Jesus is fulfilling the “old” prophesies of a savior born in the city of David who is Messiah and Lord, and that Jesus is that individual that was fully human and fully God. Though Jesus is a man of humility and caring for all creation, His love for mankind literally commanded (I almost said ‘scared’) “the hell” out of the people of Capernaum.
The people of Capernaum tried to prevent Jesus from leaving. The reaction of these “strangers” in Capernaum strongly contrasts, as I said earlier in this reflection, to the violent and hostile reactions of Jesus’ supposed friends familiar to Him in His hometown of Nazareth; the people that rejected and tried to kill Him as is depicted earlier in this Gospel chapter (Luke 4: 28-30).
The people of Capernaum were filled with admiration, wonder, and awe for Jesus’ authority over good and evil; and for the redeeming effects of His presence, both physically and spiritually. These residents of Capernaum were well on their way to recognizing Jesus’ true identity as the Messiah: the Son of God!
Luke, at the end of today’s Gospel reading, places Jesus preaching in the synagogues of “Judea.” Matthew 4:23 and Mark 1:39 both place Jesus in “Galilee.” Up to this point Luke had spoken only of Jesus’ “ministry” in Galilee. He may be using the word “Judea” now to refer to the entire land of Israel, the entire territory of the Jews, and not to a specific portion of geography. Jesus’ leaving Capernaum was necessary for His mission and ministry to be fulfilled. It was not only His own choice to leave Capernaum, but it was part of God’s divine plan; the same divine plan that will also be fulfilled later, in Jesus’ Passion and Ascension.
Every time we experience God’s love in our hearts, it is meant to teach us. Paul preached about going from “head knowledge” to “heart knowledge” throughout his letters. We need to learn to open our hearts to God’s love! Opening our heart begins the process of opening our eyes, to see with the love and truth that Jesus Christ saw! We all can use modern medicine from time to time, but we also all need Jesus Christ. He meets are very needs on a daily basis!!
“Prayer for the Sick”
“Omnipotent and eternal God, the everlasting Salvation of those who believe, hear us on behalf of Thy sick servant, (___name___), for whom we beg the aid of Thy pitying mercy, that, with his bodily health restored, he may give thanks to Thee in Thy church. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.”
Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO
A Franciscan’s Saint of the Day: Blessed Beatrice da Silva 1425-1490
Beatrice was born of Portuguese parents at Ceuta on Moroccan soil, and manifested a special attachment to our Immaculate Mother very early in life. At the court of the king of Castile she was presented and cast into prison by a jealous queen, but by the visible intervention of the Immaculate Queen of heaven, she was released and justified with great honor. Then she left the court and went to Toledo. On the journey thither St. Francis and St. Anthony appeared to her and announced that she would be the founder of a new order.
At Toledo she repaired to a convent of Cistercian nuns and remained there for almost 40 years. She did not don the religious garb; nevertheless she was a model of religious perfection. Gradually the resolution took shape to establish a new order that would honor the Immaculate Mother of God. With 12 companions who entertained sentiments similar to hers, she withdrew to a separate house. Beatrice wrote the rule and asked Pope Innocent VIII to approve it. This occurred in the year 1489.
A few years earlier the Blessed Virgin has showed her in a vision that she should wear a habit consisting of a white tunic and scapular with a light blue mantle. This was the origin of the Order of the Immaculate Conception, also known as the Conceptionist Poor Clares.
The whole life of the foundress was conformed to her religious rule. The rule itself can be summed up briefly in three short mottos: to be silent and submissive in all things that happen to us by God’s ordinance or are required of us by holy obedience; to become small in the eyes of God, of the world, and of ourself, and to prefer a life of obscurity; to love everyone with a holy love, and become all to all by prayer, sacrifice, and labor.
At the age of 65, Mother Beatrice departed from this life in 1490, a year after the founding of her order. Pope Pius XI enrolled her among the beatified. The Conceptionists were incorporated into the Franciscan Order and soon spread through Europe and America. Thanks to the efforts of the Franciscan bishop, Amandus Bahlmann of Santarem, a branch of this order, under the name of Missionaries of the Immaculate Conception, is doing remarkable work especially in the missions of Brazil. Their motherhouse is at Patterson, New Jersey.
from: The Franciscan Book of Saints,
ed. by Marion Habig, ofm.,
© 1959 Franciscan Herald Press
(From http://www.franciscan-sfo.org website)
Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule #1 of 26:
The Franciscan family, as one among many spiritual families raised up by the Holy Spirit in the Church, unites all members of the people of God — laity, religious, and priests – who recognize that they are called to follow Christ in the footsteps of Saint Francis of Assisi.
In various ways and forms but in life-giving union with each other, they intend to make present the charism of their common Seraphic Father in the life and mission of the Church.