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The unnoticed, ‘homey’ suffering: That’s what Jesus addresses

Jesus' hands

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Fr. Luigi Maria Epicoco - published on 01/11/23

Finding Jesus in the temple or the synagogue is quite understandable. But finding Jesus in somebody’s home is indeed good news.

Today’s readings can be found here. Read Fr. Epicoco’s brief reflections on the daily Mass readings, Monday through Saturday, here. For Sunday Mass reading commentary from Fr. Rytel-Andrianik, see here.

Finding Jesus in the temple or the synagogue is quite understandable. But finding Jesus in somebody’s home is indeed good news. In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus goes to Simon’s house. It is there, in that house, where he meets a suffering woman: “Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once.” 

How much suffering is sometimes hidden in our homes! Suffering that goes unnoticed, that is not on display, suffering that nobody knows about. Jesus addresses this type of suffering.

He invites us to let him know about the specific pains and sufferings of those we care about –those living in Simon’s house, his relatives, hurry to tell Jesus about his mother-in-law. This is the great power of intercession. 

We must never think that praying for the people we love is useless. Jesus always listens to whatever comes from the heart. Sometimes the only thing we can do for those who are close to us is praying for them – especially when, humanly speaking, we are unable to do anything else. 

Jesus’ reaction is extraordinarily beautiful:

“He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them.”

Jesus addresses this woman’s pain, takes her by the hand, frees her, and puts her in a position in which she can do something as well. 

This can be accomplished by a prayer made in faith. But you must be careful not to turn Jesus into a showman of sorts. Christianity is never a matter of sensationalism. Every single miracle aims at bringing us closer to the very core of the Gospel. Miracles for their own sake produce Christians who are no longer Christians the minute the sensationalism stops. What Jesus does is never sensational nor fleeting – it is profound and enduring. 


Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

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