Gospel Reading: Lk 4:38-44
After he left the synagogue, he entered the house of Simon. Simon’s mother-in-law was afflicted with a severe fever, and they interceded with him about her. He stood over her, rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up immediately and waited on them. At sunset, all who had people sick with various diseases brought them to him. He laid his hands on each of them and cured them. And demons also came out from many, shouting, “You are the Son of God.” But he rebuked them and did not allow them to speak because they knew that he was the Christ. At daybreak, Jesus left and went to a deserted place. The crowds went looking for him, and when they came to him, they tried to prevent him from leaving them. But he said to them, “To the other towns also I must proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God, because for this purpose I have been sent.” And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.
SHE GOT UP IMMEDIATELY AND WAITED ON THEM
The cure of Simon’s mother-in-law of fever is a clear instance of healing without demonic possession. The time is still the Sabbath, but the setting has shifted from the public arena of the synagogue to the privacy of Simon’s house. The story gives none of the sort of information we wish to have, such as the nature and cause of the fever or what medical procedures have been undertaken. In Mark’s account Jesus is said to take the woman’s hand and help her up (cf Mk 1:31), but Luke does not mention even the touch. Instead, just as Jesus “rebuked” the demon in the earlier narrative (cf Lk 4:35), he now “rebukes” the fever, and the same authority is evidenced: she gets up and waits on them.
The picture we next have is of the woman getting up from her sickbed and bringing them food. The “wait” or serve does refer to serving food, and thus is connected to the importance of meals in the life of early Christian communities. “Serve” is also the word Jesus uses later in the Gospel to identify the appropriate activity and posture of disciples (cf 22:26). By portraying the woman as engaging in this act of ministry as a consequence of her having been healed by Jesus early in his ministry, Luke already hints at the continuing life of the Christian community.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives” (Lk 4:18).
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