News‎ > ‎02 2021‎ > ‎

Pope Francis Angelus 2021.02.07 The healing of Peter’s mother-in-law

Pope Francis: The healing of Peter’s mother-in-law - Angelus 07.02.2021

Pope Francis       07.02.21  Angelus, St Peter's Square       5th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year B         Job 7: 1-4, 6-7         Mark 1: 29-39

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good Morning
Pope Francis Jesus healing the people - Angelus - 07.02.21

Once again in the Square! Today’s Gospel passage (cf. Mk 1:29-39) presents the healing, by Jesus, of Peter’s mother-in-law and then of many other sick and suffering people who gather round him. The healing of Peter’s mother-in-law is the first physical healing recounted by Mark: the woman is in bed with a fever; Jesus’ attitude and gesture toward her are emblematic: “he came and took her by the hand” (v. 31), the Evangelist notes. There is so much tenderness in this simple act, which seems almost natural: “the fever left her; and she served them” (ibid.). Jesus’ healing power meets no resistance; and the person healed resumes her normal life, immediately thinking of others and not of herself – and this is significant; it is the sign of true “health”!

That day was a sabbath day. The people of the village wait for sundown and then, the obligation of rest having ended, they go out and bring to Jesus all those who are sick and possessed by demons. And he heals them, but forbids the demons to reveal that he is the Christ (cf. vv. 32-34). Thus, from the very beginning, Jesus shows his predilection for people suffering in body and in spirit: it is a predilection of Jesus to draw near to people who suffer both in body and in spirit. It is the Father’s predilection, which he incarnates and manifests with deeds and words. His disciples were eyewitnesses to this; they saw this and then witnessed to it. But Jesus did not want just spectators of his mission: he involved them; he sent them; he also gave them the power to heal the sick and cast out demons (cf. Mt 10:1; Mk 6:7). And this has continued without interruption in the life of the Church, up to today. And this is important. Taking care of the sick of every kind is not an “optional activity” for the Church, no! It is not something extra, no. Taking care of the sick of every kind is an integral part of the Church’s mission, as it was for Jesus’. And this mission is to bring God’s tenderness to a suffering humanity. We will be reminded of this in a few days, on 11 February, with the World Day of the Sick.

The reality that we are experiencing throughout the world due to the pandemic makes this message, this essential mission of the Church, particularly relevant. The voice of Job, which echoes in today’s liturgy, is once again the interpreter our human condition, so lofty in dignity – our human condition, the loftiest in dignity - and at the same time so fragile. In the face of this reality, the question “why?” always arises in the heart.

And to this question Jesus, the Word Incarnate, responds not with an explanation – to this because we are so lofty in dignity and so fragile in condition, Jesus does not respond to this ‘why’ with an explanation –, but with a loving presence that bends down, that takes by the hand and lifts up, as he did with Peter’s mother-in-law (cf. Mk 1:31). Bending down to lift up the other. Let us not forget that the only legitimate way to look at a person from top down is when you stretch out a hand to help them get up. The only one. And this is the mission that Jesus entrusted to the Church. The Son of God manifests his Lordship not “from top down”, not from a distance, but in bending down, stretching out his hand; he manifests his Lordship in closeness, in tenderness, in compassion. Closeness, tenderness, compassion are the style of God. God draws near, and he draws near with tenderness and compassion. How many times in the Gospel do we read, before a health problem or any problem: “he had compassion”. Jesus’ compassion, God’s closeness in Jesus is the style of God. Today’s Gospel passage also reminds us that this compassion is deeply rooted in the intimate relationship with the Father. Why? Before daybreak and after sundown, Jesus withdrew and remained alone to pray (v. 35). From there he drew the strength to fulfil his mission, preaching and healing.

May the Holy Virgin help us to allow Jesus to heal us – we always need this, everyone – so that we might in our turn be witnesses to God’s healing tenderness.

Dear brothers and sisters!

In these days I follow with deep concern the developments of the situation that has arisen in Myanmar, a country that, since my Apostolic Visit in 2017, I carry in my heart with such affection. At this delicate time I wish to assure once again my spiritual closeness, my prayers and my solidarity with the people of Myanmar. And I pray that those who hold responsibility in the country will put themselves with sincere willingness to serve the common good, promoting social justice and national stability, for harmonious coexistence. Let us pray for Myanmar.

I would like to make an appeal on behalf of unaccompanied migrant minors. There are so many! Unfortunately, among those who for various reasons are forced to leave their homeland, there are always dozens of children and young people alone, without family and exposed to many dangers. In recent days, I have been told of the dramatic situation of those on the so-called 'Balkan route'. But there are some on all the routes. Let us ensure that these fragile and defenceless people do not lack the necessary care and preferential humanitarian channels.

Today is the Day for Life in Italy, on the theme "Freedom and Life". I join the Italian Bishops in remembering that freedom is the great gift that God has given us to seek and achieve the good of one's own and others, starting from the primary good of life. Our society must be helped to heal from all attacks on life, so that it is protected at every stage.

Tomorrow, the liturgical remembrance of Saint Josephine Bakhita, a Sudanese religious woman who experienced the humiliations and sufferings of slavery, we celebrate the Day of Prayer and Reflection against Human Trafficking. This year the aim is to work for an economy that does not favour, even indirectly, these ignoble trades, that is, an economy that never makes man and woman a commodity, an object, but always the aim. Service to man, to woman, but not to use them as commodities. We ask Saint Josephine Bakhita to help us in this.

And I extend my cordial greeting to all of you, Romans and pilgrims: I am glad to see you gathered again in the square. All of you. I'm happy. I wish you all a good Sunday. And please don't forget to pray for me. Have a nice lunch and arrivederci!