5th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B - 7/2/2021 - Gospel: Mk 1: 29-39
Raise Up
Jesus went with James and John to visit the house of Simon's mother-in-law. She was in bed with fever. Jesus took her hand to raise her up. The fever left her, and she began to wait on them. Her service confirmed that she was fully recovered. She was well enough to cook for the whole household. Probably she was the best cook in the house! Jesus' healing touch required her to have neither convales nor recuperating period. Serving others was one of the major themes in Jesus' public ministry. Jesus himself claimed 'I come to serve, not to be served' Mk 10,45. Serving became the 'trade mark' of Jesus' disciples.

The word 'raise up' plays a significant role in the salvation history. It means Jesus raised up each individual to a level of the creation's original state, and His final goal was to raise up the whole human race. It means Jesus gives each one of His disciples a new life in Him, a life of faith. For Simon's mother in law, it was a life of faith. Jairus came to Jesus pleading Him to save his daughter; she was seriously sick. While they were talking, Jairus' servant arrived with the bad news, that his daughter had died. Hearing that Jesus told Jairus, 'Do not be afraid; only have faith' Mk 5,36. Jesus raised her up from dead. He gave her a new life, because of her father's faith. Jesus himself was raised up from His own death. The word 'raise her up' in today's passage meant Jesus elevated Simon's mother-in-law to different levels: from a bed-ridden situation to fully recovered, from an unknown person to befriend, the inner circle of Jesus, and finally Jesus will raise her up on the last day. Simon's mother in law probably was the very first female who became Jesus' disciple. There were two kinds of disciples: the ones who with Him travelled from place to place, and the other ones who travelled not with Him, but encamped at homes.

Sickness stopped Simon's mother-in-law from doing her daily chores; it prevented her showing hospitality to others; it prevented her from taking part in her community's activities. For Jesus, healing was not simply about getting well again; it was more about restoration a person's vocation. It meant regaining a life of value; it meant engaging in social interactions, and it meant engaging in community activities. Sickness often put enormous pressure on a family's budget. It caused grave concern for the loved ones, and sometimes it created fear for the whole community.

Healing the sick, and casting out devils were the two themes of Jesus' public ministry. Healing a sick person, Jesus touched that person. Casting out devils, Jesus refused to touch devils. His opponents claimed, devils obeyed Jesus because He was the Prince of devils. Such a claim was a baseless allegation, a sheer fantasy. Jesus prohibited devils to speak. He gave a command, and devils obeyed Him. Casting out devils was a first step in Jesus' ministry. His final act was triumph over the power of darkness. Devils lamented 'Have you come to destroy us? Mk 1,24. The coming of God's kingdom became the Good News for those who loved Jesus and became His disciples. It was terror for devils and a threat for His opponents.

Simon's mother in law was honoured to be the first female who welcomed Jesus, and His company in her own home. It was her great joy, and privilege to show hospitality toward the distinguished guests. Her generosity became well known worldwide, and Jesus will raise her up on the last day.