Serve Each Other
Opening Question: Have you ever helped a friend in need? Did you have to change you plans to help them? What happened?
First Reading: 1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23
Bill and Tom were good friends. They lived next door to each other, so played together and even did homework together. If Bill needed help, Tom was there. If Tom needed help, Bill was glad to pitch in. Bill and Tom saw themselves as brothers.
Bill was weak in his free throws for basketball. Tom gave him pointers and stayed with Bill as he shot free-throw after free-throw. Tom, on the other hand, was weak in his math skills. So, Bill stayed over one Friday night as they worked together on Bill's homework.
Friendships build up more than skills. Bill and Tom became examples of cooperation. With friends, weaknesses disappear, because you have two or three instead of just one person.
St. Paul had a friend named Jesus. And he wanted to introduce others to Jesus. So Paul would do many, many unusual things to make a friend and bring that friend to Jesus. Paul became a servant to others for the sake of Jesus. Let us do the same.
Bridging Question: When was the last time you were sick? How helpless did you feel?
Gospel: Mark 1:29-39
Jesus taught in the synagogue and healed the man possessed by a demon.
Then, Jesus and his followers left the synagogue. Along with James and John, they entered the house where Simon and Andrew lived. But, Simon's mother-in-law was in bed, sick with a fever. At that moment, they told Jesus about her. Jesus went to where she was laying down, took her by the hand, and raised her. The fever left her and she took care of them.
That evening, people kept bringing him anyone who was sick or was possessed by a demon. It seemed the entire city gathered at the front door. Jesus cured really sick people who had many different diseases. And Jesus freed people from demons. He would not allow the demons to speak through the people they possessed, because the demons knew who Jesus really was.
The next morning, long before dawn, Jesus got up and went out to pray alone. Simon and the other three followers looked for Jesus. When they found him, they told Jesus, "Everyone wants to see you."
"Let's go to the next town, so I can preach there," Jesus said. "This is the reason I came." Throughout Galilee, Jesus preached in synagogues and freed people from demons.
Sandy was really tired. She went to school, took care of her brother while her mom was at work, and made dinner. When her mom finally got home, she told Sandy, "I've got a lot of work to do. Please clean up and do your homework." Sandy sighed and washed the dishes. Then she went to her room to do her homework.
"I wish I had someone to take care of me," Sandy day-dreamed. People to serve her, clean up after her mess, and take care of her chores. No worries. No responsibilities. No thoughts about tomorrow. Just relax and play and enjoy life.
As the old saying goes, "Be careful what you ask for. You might get it." The next day, Sandy came home with a cough. The following day, her cough turned into the flu. Sandy had a pounding head, body aches, and a fever. She could hardly stand up, she was so dizzy. "Mom, I can't go to school today," Sandy said with the covers over her head.
This time her mom sighed. "Okay, Sandy," her mom responded. "You just rest in bed."
Sandy overheard her mom call work, then go into her room to change clothes. Her mom gave Sandy medicine, took her little brother to school, and returned with Sandy's homework. Between what she had to do for her job and what she had to do for Sandy, her mom was really busy that morning.
Sandy slept most of the day. She woke up with the sound of her brother coming home from school. Her mom came in to take Sandy's temperature and giver her more medicine. Sandy felt bad, even helpless. "I wish I could help you, Mom," Sandy whispered. Anything would be better than being sick, Sandy thought.
"You rest and get better," her mom responded.
Later that night, the fever broke, and Sandy began to feel better. Even though she still had a cough, she had her energy back and was ready to go back to school. She felt so good that afternoon that, when she got home from school, she made an extra-special dinner for her family. She would much rather have the responsibilities than lie in bed sick.
Simon's mother-in-law was sick in bed. She must have felt as helpless as Sandy did. When Jesus healed her, she gladly served Jesus and his friends a meal, just like Sandy. Imagine what he did for the other sick people in the town. He took helpless people, healed them, and made them feel better about themselves, because they could help their families.
Jesus came to help others. We, too, can help others. We can help them to feel better when they are sick, and help them feel better about what they can do for their family and friends.
Closing Question: When was the last time you helped someone who was sick? How did they help you when they felt better?