Driving out Fire

Still recovering from surgery (which, you’ll be glad to hear that everything went well and my baby girl is currently snoozing in my lap), however! Yesterday’s gospel was just so cool that I can’t resist doing a quick blog!

For those of you who missed Sunday’s gospel or mass (guilty!) here is the gospel reading in all its glory!

NABRE

Mark 1

29 On leaving the synagogue he entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. 30Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever. They immediately told him about her. 31He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. Then the fever left her and she waited on them.32When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons. 33The whole town was gathered at the door. 34He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak because they knew him.35 Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed. 36Simon and those who were with him pursued him 37and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.” 38He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come.” 39So he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee.

Lots of miracles, lots of healing — with a guest appearance of Simon Peter’s mother-in-law, no less! And, of course, with such an action-packed gospel, there is plenty of beautiful art. Here’s one piece…

Christ Healing the Mother of Simon Peter’s Wife, by John Bridges, c. 1839. Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, Alabama, United States. Via IllustratedPrayer.com
Christ Healing the Mother of Simon Peter’s Wife, by John Bridges, c. 1839. Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, Alabama, United States.

The disciples crowd around while St. Peter looks equal parts astonished and grateful. And his mother-in-law rises!

Of course, coming out from a major surgery, I was curious to see what they used to think about fevers in biblical times. And the answer? You didn’t want to get a fever back then, because a fever could easily be a death sentence.

Not only that, but fevers were viewed as a separate illness, instead of being a symptom, as we view it now. The Talmud, which is a huge, comprehensive Jewish work that gives commentaries and opinions on law, scripture, and life in general, describes the word “fever” as “fire.”

So, as Jesus is performing exorcisms and healing sicknesses, this particular healing is a little bit of both. Not only does He drive the fire out of her body, but He also saves her from what looks like imminent death.

And then she rises.

Which, in turn, is a foreshadowing of what is to come when He destroys hell and saves us all from death.

Like I said… It’s a really cool gospel!

So, while it is tempting to make mother-in-law jokes at this gospel, remember! We are all in her position! Fortunately for us, Christ is just as willing as ever to save us.

Just a quick reminder that tomorrow is the official release date of my new book, The Sorrowful Mysteries! Take a peek at it here.

Karina Tabone

Karina Tabone is a wife, mother of three, author, blogger, and lover of Christian artwork. She's the author of the Illustrated Rosary series, which pairs every prayer of the Rosary with beautiful religious artwork. She likes also milkshakes, sunshine, and mystery novels. Follow her on Twitter at @illustr_prayer

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