Gospel Reflection on Mark 1:29-39 by Alex Oliveros

Today’s Gospel reading is quite interesting as it differs from normal Gospels narratively. Gospels will usually take a singular parable Jesus teaches or event that happens as the basis of that week’s Gospel. The parable of the Good Samaritan or Jesus’ Baptism are examples of this. However, this week we are given three separate stories and short ones at that. Each story is about Jesus healing a particular person or group of people. Jesus and his disciples are in the town of Capernaum, and the first person who is healed is Peter’s mother-in-law from a fever. Then He goes on to heal all the people of Capernaum who were sick, and he does the same thing in a nearby village.

So, this might seem like a less important part of the overarching story that really only has a surface level meaning of “Jesus used Force Heal on a level not even Baby Yoda could comprehend.” And perhaps Jesus healing some people is less important than His birth or Resurrection. However, these smaller stories help fill the gaps of His ministry that show Jesus for who He really is. Now, one might say the other stories of him healing lepers, blind man, or feeding the 5,000 already do that job for us, so these few lines are generally unimportant. True, those miracles do the job, but they seem fantastical and can feel like Jesus being some comic book superhero rather than just someone who genuinely loves those He touches. Mark might’ve wanted to do this to show the number of people’s lives Jesus touched without making it seem like Iron Man saving the universe types of grand. Jesus healed these people – perhaps in fantastical ways – but it doesn’t really matter how because the focus is on the person’s change, not on the specific way they were healed.

This type of healing, especially for many people, might be comforting in times like these. In a world affected by continuing sickness and death, we can reflect on this reading to see the way God continues heals us now. While I’ve never had a harsh illness like the people in the passage (although I suppose I got the flu once, getting a fever-like Peter’s mother-in-law), I can see how God has touched the lives around me who have gotten these diseases. A friend from high school developed brain cancer, but through many prayers, his condition has improved significantly. My aunt, uncle, and grandfather all contracted COVID-19, but through the grace of God, they mostly avoided the harsh symptoms.

Although Jesus does have his Iron Man moment and makes the ultimate sacrifice for everyone else to live, it’s important to see these smaller stories to understand important life lessons an ultimate sacrifice might not be able to tell. Part of His message is healing and being open to helping others. During this time, we should try to heal others as much as we can, whether that’s a physical disease or a mental illness. This will spread the message of love and hope that sometimes feels out of stock.