He grasped her hand

Readings for February 7, 2021

Job 2:1-4, 6-7
Psalm 147:1-6
1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23
Mark 1:29-39


As my mom neared the end of her life a few years ago, we all knew that it was hard for my dad  to witness her struggling to breathe and confused, lying on a hospital bed in the living room of their apartment. It was disruptive to his routine, to his decorating, and to his life–the woman he loved as his wife for nearly 58 years was not going to live much longer. But in a tenderness which, frankly, surprised us who thought we knew him, he grasped her hand and just talked gently to her through it all. He seemed to understand that he was powerless to do anything but love her.

Interestingly though, when Jesus found himself in a similar situation in Simon’s house in Capernaum, he was not so powerless. With a word he could cast out demons; with a command he could tell a crippled man to pick up his mat and walk. Yet with Simon’s mother-in-law, who lay sick–perhaps dying–on a bed in the home, Jesus spoke no words nor issued any commands. Instead, “he grasped her hand and helped her up.” And in this simple loving grasp of a hand, Jesus showed that even with all of his power, he did, and would have done, exactly what my father did. And through this, he showed me a path, a calling, a way to be like him; revealing that unending love is his true healing power.

I may never witness or experience for myself a miraculous physical healing like Jesus granted Simon’s mother-in-law, but I know the healing power of love. I saw my dad’s love heal my mom so to usher her from this life to the next. He was Christ to her in that moment. And he, himself, was healed by love.  And so from this week’s readings I know that I am called to love as Christ has shown me to love, and as my father has shown me to love; but I also know that whenever I need it, Christ will be there to take my hand as well. 

Jesus came to save us from sin. He did so in the ultimate living example of God’s incredible love for us, and the blessings that come from surrendering to it. When I surrender everything to God’s love, Jesus takes over. He, with the grasp of my hand, can help me up to heal. It is in that love that I am reconciled to God, made free from my sins so to give Him glory. And anytime, truly, but especially in the moments that I need him most, I know that I need only give glory in prayer for Jesus to reach out to grasp my hand in loving comfort.

Jesus, I long to sense your love in my life. Grasp my hand and help me up from my daily grind and my sins that I may give glory to God the Father at all times. Heal me, Lord. Make me whole that I may live with you in eternal love. Amen

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