Do not Domesticate the Divine Mission

Jijo Kandamkulathy, CMF

Claretian Publications, Macau

Mk 1:29-39


In the gospel today, we find Jesus in the house of Peter’s mother-in-law. Mark, as his habit is, drops in a little information about where he comes from. Jesus was just coming out of the synagogue and immediately beginning to heal people. The empowering that Jesus gets from the place of prayer and spending it on the sick is worth noting. This reminds us to gather the spiritual energy from the house of prayer where we attend every day or at least in the weekends, and spend it on healing our families and the people connected to us. Our words and touch should be healing for the people we meet.

What Jesus does in that house is also narrated as an interesting anecdote albeit small. In these days, people are asked to keep away from the sick, and not to have contact with them. But here is Jesus going and touching Peter’s mother-in-law who is sick. Jesus is not afraid of the sickness contaminating him, just like a doctor who touches the patient and does not get sick because they have a certain knowledge how to protect themselves. Jesus has done this action of touching the untouchable in other instances as well. When the man with leprosy came and requested for healing, Jesus touched him and healed him (Mark 1:40-45). According to the Jewish law, he should have been in quarantine until evening or for seven days on many occasions. A similar instance happens after the woman with a haemorrhage touches Jesus (Mark 5:25-34). Jesus clearly defied the laws of purification in the Old Testament (Num 19, Lev 11). What an audacious act he was doing. This is not to encourage anyone to escape from the rules of self-protection but to state that Jesus had a certainty of his safety standards. He was holy and nothing could contaminate him!

There is a certain spiritual osmosis taking place in this process. A spiritual energy passes from higher concentration to where it is absent, or is less. The evil is never concentrated enough to contaminate or infect the master of the universe. If our spiritual energy is low, it is the evil outside that will permeate us.

In the house of Peter’s mother-in-law, it was a hectic day for Jesus. Even after sunset, he had not stopped his ministry. People still kept coming for healing. The whole town was around him until late in the night. He had earned a good night’s rest. However, the next morning, when the disciples thought it was again “business hours” for Jesus, he was not to be found there. He was in prayer, in a mission of meeting his Father. We now recognize the source of his spiritual energy.

A significant matter to note in the gospel today is the behavior of the apostles. They consult Jesus when someone is sick, assist sick people to come to Jesus. They all got healed. The disciples were getting the feeling of something important happening and they liked the unprecedented attention that they themselves were getting. There was a tendency to appropriate Jesus to their town and make him a local healer unwittingly. Jesus escapes the traps of human expectations. He decides with his Father that his Spirit is not to be domesticated to a small place but to reach out to heal the rest of the world. The disciples had tried to domesticate Jesus to their frames of thought on many occasions. After the multiplication of the bread, people wanted to make him king. And the disciples liked the idea. They wanted positions when he begins to rule from Jerusalem. When Jesus said that he would have to die, Peter rebukes this idea as a career suicide of a prosperous future! But Jesus prevails, sure of the Father’s plans.

Jesus begins a journey, breaching that early attempt at domesticating his spirit to the frames of the expectation of the people, to the ends of the world. He continues, traversing times, caring, healing, and transforming the mindset of people, even today.