“As soon as they left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them. That evening, at sunset, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. And the whole city was gathered around the door. And he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him. In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. And Simon and his companions hunted for him. When they found him, they said to him, ‘Everyone is searching for you.’ He answered, ‘Let us go on to the neighbouring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.’ And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons.” (Mark 1:29-39) Our Gospel passage this week might at first appear as an unrelated set of healing miracles, but there is far more going on here than what might first meet the eye. A remarkable contrast is laid out for us. The first miracle is the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law that is then followed in rapid succession by other healings and exorcisms. In gratitude, Peter’s mother-in-law (we have no idea what her name is) stands up and serves Jesus and the disciples. After healing others, Jesus retires alone to a “deserted place” in order to pray. Realizing he is missing, Peter and the gang hunt for him. The Greek verb here implies a violent hunt, you could say that the disciples “hunt Jesus down.” Strange isn’t it? The nameless woman who is healed, out of deep gratitude then serves Jesus. On the other hand, the named disciples in response to the new prominence of Jesus pursue him, in essence so that he return to his (and by association, their) place of prominence. You and I have been touched by Jesus in many and remarkable ways. How do we respond? In gratitude with service or in anxiety with demands for more demonstrations of his power? My temptation is the latter: “what have you done for me lately, Jesus?” Yet, my prayer is for the former: “Oh Lord, you who have and continue to bring healing in my life, now grant me your strength to serve you and others in grateful response.” How about you? Have a great week!