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January 16, 2019

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book PNG2112Gospel: Mark 1:29-39
On leaving the synagogue, Jesus went to the home of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. As Simon’s mother-­in-­law was sick in bed with fever, they immediately told him about her. Jesus went to her and, taking her by the hand, raised her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them. That evening, at sundown, people brought to Jesus all the sick and those who had evil spirits: the whole town was pressing around the door. Jesus healed many who had various diseases, and drove out many demons; but he did not let them speak, for they knew who he was.Very early in the morning, before daylight, Jesus went off to a lonely place where he prayed.

Simon and the others went out also, searching for him; and when they found him, they said, “Everyone is looking for you.” Then Jesus answered, “Let us go to the nearby villages so that I may preach there too; for that is why I came.”So Jesus set out to preach in all the synagogues throughout Galilee; he also cast out demons.

“Everyone is looking for you.”
The Gospel text describes a whirlwind of activity as Jesus enters a new town and is imme­diately be set by a crowd pres­sing around the door. Both here and in the nearby villages where he preached “throughout Gali­lee” and also casts out demons, Jesus seems  to be  surrounded by needy people; “everyone” is looking for him. The sick and possessed recognize him by his good works; even the nameless “demons” know who he is.But this wide view of a suf­ fering world is balanced by at­tention to a  particular  person in need: the mother-­in-­law of Simon. Jesus’ compassion is not directed just toward the name­ less crowd; each person he healed was someone’s mother, spouse, or child. Yet he could not linger; it was time to move on, to another village, another person in need, another crowd hungry for the good news. That, he says, is why he came.It is important that we remain conscious of great social chal­ lenges, the need to address po­verty, sickness, and the common good. But that does not excuse us from the need to notice and attend to the needs of the per­son right before us. Each one is precious in the eyes of the Lord.

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