After the call of the first disciples, the evangelist tells us of a healing worked by Jesus, the first miracle in this gospel. He reaches Capernaum, a busy town by the Sea of Galilee, which he made the centre for his ministry. His teaching impressed the people, for it was given with authority, with conviction. Jesus spoke the truth without fear. The people are even more astonished by the healing of the man who was ‘possessed by an unclean spirit’.
The initial part of the gospel is dominated by the words and the actions of Jesus. The healing actions show the power of God, while the teaching proclaims the coming of the kingdom. Jesus’ powerful deeds confirm the message of the coming of the kingdom of God.
The sick man was probably suffering from some kind of mental illness, and considered to be ‘possessed’. All sickness was considered evil and in some way the work of Satan. The sick man was somehow a victim of evil. By healing him Jesus challenges and conquers the power of Satan. He demonstrates that the kingdom is near.
The reading from the book of Deuteronomy includes the words of Moses that God would one day raise up a great prophet, a prophet like Moses. This reading prepares us for the gospel reading and the fulfilment of that promise. Jesus, who is greater than Moses, speaks powerful words, words of truth, words which heal. The good news Jesus brings can change our lives as it changed the life of the sick man in the gospel.
What does this gospel say to us today?
What does the gospel tell us about sickness?
Let us pray for all those who care for the sick and work for their healing.
Le us pray for those who preach the gospel that they may do so with courage and love.