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Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time

Col. 1:1-8 & Lk. 4:38-48

One of Pope Saint John XXIII’s sayings was, “Correct a little, overlook much, observe all.” That was St. Paul’s approach in today's first reading. There were difficulties in the church at Colossae and he could have been very stern but instead he began with encouragement and support, “We have never failed to remember you in our prayers and to give thanks for you to God.” Later in the letter he gets round to correcting them but in a gentle and fatherly manner. Paul once wrote to the Corinthians, “When I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor. 12:10). Knowing his own weaknesses he was able to reach out to others in theirs. He realized how God treats us, comforting us when we feel the weight of our own human frailty. He is constantly offering us solace and healing, seeing us not as we are but as we can be.

I think today's Gospel reading is almost a typical Sabbath day in the life of Jesus. He had done His religious duty by attending the synagogue and then went to Peter’s house for some rest and refreshment. There Peter’s mother-in-law had a high fever and He cured her, so effectively that she was immediately able to prepare a meal. The rest of the day would have been spent in a leisurely way, like any Jewish family. But when sunset came, marking the end of the Sabbath, the peace and quiet around their house disappeared. Everyone in the neighbourhood knew where to find Jesus and crowds of them arrived asking Him to cure their sick friends and relatives. Jesus could never refuse to help anyone who had faith in Him.

Do we have that faith in Jesus? All of us, because we are sinners, are sick in some way and we need the Divine Physician. Some of us are quick enough to make an appointment with our doctor when we have the smallest physical ailment. We have faith in his or her ability to cure us. But when we are spiritually sick do we have the same belief that Jesus can cure us? We all have some spiritual sickness which needs treatment. It could be an evil habit or an illicit friendship. It could be neighbour trouble, a family problem or a financial worry. Our first thought should be to bring all these problems to Jesus, asking Him to heal us or to help us to cope with whatever is troubling us. Today's Gospel proves that Jesus can help us but, like those crowds, we have to go to Him and ask.

Lord Jesus, may we always recognise our sinfulness and frailty, and our need for Your forgiveness and healing.

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