July 1, 2023
Saturday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time
Jesus entered the house of Peter, and saw his mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. He touched her hand, the fever left her, and she rose and waited on him. Matthew 8:14–15
How do we properly respond to the action of God in our lives? In the passage above, we are given the witness of Peter’s mother-in-law to answer that question. It should be noted that Jesus was on a continual mission of healing. In fact, before arriving at the house of Peter, Jesus had just healed a centurion’s servant. When the centurion came to Jesus stating that he was not even worthy to have Him enter his house, Jesus saw the centurion’s faith and healed his servant from a distance. After arriving at the house of Peter, we are told that many people brought to Jesus those who were possessed by demons, and Jesus healed them all. But between the healing of the servant and the healings of the many, another healing occurred. The response to this healing sets for us a wonderful example.
Peter’s mother-in-law was ill and in bed with a fever. It’s unclear just how ill she was, but the fact remains that she was ill to the point of being in bed. Notice, first, that Jesus was not even asked to heal her. Rather, He “saw” her ill and in bed, approached her of His own choosing, “touched her hand,” and she was healed.
Within the same sentence describing Jesus’ healing, we are told that “she rose and waited on him.” First of all, “she rose.” This should be seen as a symbolic depiction of what we must do when we are touched by grace. The grace of God, when it is given to us, must have the effect of causing us to rise. We rise from sin when we confess that sin and receive forgiveness, especially in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We rise up every time God enters our lives to give us direction, clarity and hope. To rise is to be strengthened to dispel the burden that sin and confusion causes. We rise in strength, renewed and determined to go about the will of God.
After this woman rose, she “waited” on Jesus. This is the reason we rise up when touched by grace. We are not given God’s grace so that we can go back to our sin, or pursue our own ventures, or do our own will. We rise so that we can serve our Lord and His holy will. In a sense, Jesus’ actions in our lives impose upon us a holy burden. But it is a burden that is light. It’s an obligation to serve and give ourselves to our Lord to attend to Him, His holy will, and to all that He calls us to do.
Reflect, today, upon this threefold action of the Gospel. See Jesus approaching you and touching you in your prayer. Know that He comes to you not only because you pray to Him but out of His own initiative when He sees you will respond. Then consider your response. Rise from that which keeps you down. Let God’s grace free you from the burdens you carry. And as He grants you this grace, determine to wait on Him and to serve His will alone. The service of our Lord is what we are made for, and doing so will enable us to continually receive His grace through His touch of love.
My merciful Jesus, You continually come to me, approaching me to reach out and touch me with Your grace. You desire my healing and strengthening every day. Help me to be open to all that You wish to bestow and please free me from all that keeps me down. May I rise up in service of You and Your holy will so that Your Kingdom may be built up more fully through me. Jesus, I trust in You.