Today we continue to read from Mark’s Gospel, learning more about the ministry of Jesus. Jesus cured Simon’s mother-in-law, and she immediately began to serve Jesus and his disciples. Jesus also cured many others who were brought to him, healing their illnesses and driving out demons. As we will see throughout Mark’s Gospel, Jesus did not permit the demons to speak because they knew his
identity and would have revealed it to those who were present.
On the morning after this busy day, Jesus retreated in prayer, but was pursued by Simon and others who brought news that many people were looking for him. At this point in Mark’s Gospel, we begin to see a distinct role for the inner circle of Jesus’ disciples. They act as intermediaries between Jesus and the people. Jesus reports to his disciples that they need
to leave Capernaum to preach in other places.
Today’s Gospel completes a picture of Jesus’ ministry: preaching, curing the sick, driving out demons, and then moving on to continue this work in another place. Mark's Gospel tells us that Jesus did this throughout Galilee. Jesus’ compassion and healing of the sick is a sign of the Kingdom of God. The Church continues to extend Christ’s healing presence to others in its ministry to the sick. In the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, the Church prays for spiritual and physical healing, forgiveness of sins, and comfort for those who are suffering from illness.
In today’s Gospel we also notice the importance of prayer in Jesus’ daily life. Jesus rose early in the morning, removed himself from the crowds, and went to a deserted place to pray. When the disciples found him, he told them that it was time to move on. We believe that in his prayers Jesus found guidance and direction from God.
We also bring our decision-making to God in prayer, asking for his guidance and direction in our lives.
As we see, even Jesus prays. In this act of love and devotion to God, we are all called to recognize the importance of prayer. Prayer is an important part of Catholic worship as it provides the opportunity to communicate with God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “Prayer is the raising of one’s heart and mind to God or the requesting of good things from God” (CCC no. 2259). This shows that prayer is considered a two-way process. Catholics pray to God to develop spiritually, and God has the power to answer prayers.