Laying the Foundation

September 6, 2023
Wednesday of the Twenty-Second Week in Ordinary Time

After Jesus left the synagogue, he entered the house of Simon. Simon’s mother-in-law was afflicted with a severe fever, and they interceded with him about her. He stood over her, rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up immediately and waited on them.  Luke 4:38–39

If you wanted to share some important message with a group of people, you would first need to get their attention. This could be done through a variety of means, such as through a charismatic personality, a powerfully moving story, a heroic act of virtue, or anything else that leaves people impressed or even amazed. Once you have their complete attention, you can share the message you want to share. This is what Jesus did in today’s Gospel.

Jesus began His public ministry in Nazareth, but the people of his hometown rejected Him from their Synagogue. Therefore, He immediately traveled some 20 miles on foot to Capernaum, a town just north of the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus would spend much of His time. In this first visit to Capernaum, at the beginning of His public ministry, Jesus taught in their Synagogue, cast out a demon, and then went to the home of Simon (who eventually was given the name Peter) to perform His first recorded physical healing in Luke’s Gospel. He cured Simon’s mother-in-law, who suffered from a severe fever. Then, later that evening, many people brought to Jesus the sick and possessed, and Jesus “Laid his hands on each of them and cured them.” He certainly got their attention. And the next morning, as Jesus was preparing to leave Capernaum after this first visit during His public ministry, the people tried to convince Jesus to stay. However, Jesus said to them, “To the other towns also I must proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God, because for this purpose I have been sent.”

Has Jesus ever gotten your complete attention? Though you most likely have never witnessed a miraculous healing first hand or seen a demon being cast out of one who was possessed, Jesus still wants your full attention. He wants you to be so amazed at Him and so impressed by Him that you find yourself seeking Him out so as to be more fully fed by His divine teaching.

Some people give their full attention to our Lord after a powerful experience on a retreat. Others are struck by a powerful sermon. And there will be countless other ways by which Jesus has gotten your attention so as to fill you with a desire to listen to Him and be with Him. Such experiences lay a wonderful foundation by which we are continually invited to turn to our Lord. If this is not an experience to which you can relate, then ask yourself the question “Why?” Why haven’t you been amazed by our Lord to the point that you fervently seek Him out so as to listen to His nourishing Word?

Reflect, today, upon this initial way by which our Lord got the attention of the people of Capernaum. Though some would eventually turn from Him, many did become faithful followers on account of these personal experiences. Reflect upon any way that you have encountered our Lord powerfully in the past. Have you allowed that experience to become an ongoing motivation for you to seek Him out? And if you cannot point to any such experience, beg our Lord to give you an interior drive to desire more of Him and to be fed by His holy Word and divine presence.

My miraculous Lord, I know that You desire my complete attention in life. And I know that I am often distracted by many things that compete with You. Give me the grace I need to become so amazed by You and by Your action in my life that I fervently seek You out so as to be continually nourished by Your holy Word and divine presence in my life. Jesus, I trust in You.