After leaving the synagogue Jesus entered Simon's house. Now Simon's mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked him about her. Then he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. Immediately she got up and began to serve them.
It is as if Jesus’ healing power was pent up from his experience in Nazareth, and now in Capernaum it rushes out in full flood. There, familiarity robbed him of his power. But here there is no barrier: first he heals Peter's mother-in-law, and then crowds of sick and demon-tormented people.
Dreadful thought: like the people of Nazareth we have the power to prevent miracles. The chances are that we all have prevented many miracles, just by filling the air with criticism, or cynicism, or discouragement. We can even do it with a belittling look; in short, with a habit of mind that reduces everything. Some people have a presence that is negative. In their atmosphere we die a little: we keep our stories and anecdotes to ourselves, we talk safe. This is how human community is corroded. It is also how faith is corroded. We talk about “denying the faith,” as if words were the worst we could do. We can do much worse than that! Words at least are explicit. But by a look, by our very presence, our atmosphere, we can corrode the faith subtly and silently and deeply. And we may not even be aware that we are doing it.
In Jesus’ ministry, preaching and healing went together. It suggests that all preaching should be healing in some sense. But what if nobody feels especially sick? Well, to feel totally comfortable in today’s weird world is a bit sick. St Paul castigated the Corinthians for "behaving like ordinary people" (1 Corinthians 3:3 JB). In some way all our words can be a prayer for healing, a plea to be free of life-draining atmospheres, and to build up the broken body of Christ.
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