How Christmas Continued, 16

HE CAME TO MY HOME (Mk.1: 29-34; Mt.8: 14-17; Lk.4: 38-41)

I spent many days in bed. I had a fever that would not let me go. Sometimes my body was trenched in sweat and at other times in chills. I would feel as if I was burning up and then as if I was freezing. The fever incapacitated me. It made me useless. I felt so hot that I could not stand up or function in any way. It was a handicapping infliction that robbed me of what I loved most. The thing that I loved most of all was to be useful and serve others. My home was noted for being hospitable and courteous. As long as I could remember, we had people come and stay with us. We were in the fishing business and all of our customers and friends were always welcome at our home. Before I succumbed to this fever, I made people feel comfortable and welcome. Now my daughter was in charge. Instead of helping her, I was an added burden to those whom I loved. 

As I indicated, fishing was our livelihood. When my husband passed away, my son-in-law Simon son of John stepped right in and continued the business. Simon was a good man. When we promised our daughter to him and his parents, we had made the right choice. When my daughter married Simon, he gave up his home in Bethsaida and moved to Capernaum where we lived. He brought his brother Andrew along to help us in the fishing business. Simon distinguished himself and formed a partnership with the Zebedees and others. It became a sharing rather than a competing business. There were no more disputes over territories or fishing spots on the lake of Galilee. There was greater harmony and co-operation in emergencies and accidents. Simon, my son-in-law, was a natural born leader and easily brought people together. Many looked up to him and followed his advice. If you had Simon on your side, you could count on most of the people in Capernaum to support you.

A sudden change came over our town and in particularly to my home. Actually, it was Andrew that had taken Simon to meet the Prophet Jesus from Nazareth. The Prophet gave my son-in-law a new name. He called him “The Rock.” Next, Jesus showed up at our fishing place and made Simon a disciple. He convinced him by a miracle catch of fish. From then on Simon began catching men for Jesus and left the fishing to our hired hands. A few days later, on a Sabbath, Simon the Rock brought Jesus home with him and that is when the Prophet found me in bed with the fever. This Jesus was a strange one. He had a genuine concern for the sick. As soon as He entered my home, He came straight to my room. Someone had told Him of my problem and I was first on His agenda. He simply took me by my hand, lifted me up and the fever left me instantly. All over my body, I felt as if someone was undressing me from discomfort and dressing me in comfort. I was well and felt fully recovered. Throughout this brief encounter with Jesus, not a single word was exchanged; yet, there was the kind of communication that only spirits communicate in silence; nevertheless, I knew that this encounter would last forever. I too had become a follower of the Prophet.

That evening, I felt young and energetic again. I began to wait on Jesus and served all those He had brought with Him. What I did not realize that evening was that my home would also become His for the remainder of His life on earth. His own people, in Nazareth, had rejected Him and threatened His life. He was more than welcome in my home and so were those that followed Him. That evening, my home was too small to accommodate all the people that showed up after sunset. It seemed as if the whole town had gathered at my door. I had no idea that there were so many sick people in Capernaum. There were so many faces that I had never seen before. And there were so many different ailments that I had never heard of. The wonderful thing was that Jesus touched them all and sent them away healed. I marveled at the way He treated the mad or demon possessed. Not one of them became noisy or unruly. Jesus freed them of their evil spirits quietly. The man had endless energy. Late into the night, Jesus let others sap Him of His source of strength. No human being could last that long without collapsing; yet, He went on and on helping everyone that had come. My own people had all fallen asleep, but Jesus kept on serving the needy. After the last one was gone, He too slipped away as if He never had been there.

In the moonlight, I watched Jesus disappear in the distance as He was making his way up our mountain outside of our town. I knew where He was going. He went to be alone with His heavenly Father, who had to endow Him with more energy and strength. There was no other explanation how He could give so much unless He had the help of the One that had made us all. In the morning, my son-in-law and his companions would find Him praying in the hills. They would try to bring Him back to my home, but He was preparing Himself for another day of service somewhere else. He must have realized how taxing that night had been on us. Hereinafter, He decided to go outdoors for larger meetings with the people. Of course, my home was never the same. It had become the headquarters for our Prophet the Messiah. It also became a healing station and stopover for the new movement. My son-in-law was no longer Simon but Peter (Rock) and he was no longer around very much. I, too, was no longer the same. No one that met Jesus could be the same. Our interests completely changed. Our worldly goods assumed a diminished value. More than anything, Jesus had brought hope into our lives, the kind only heaven bestows.