|I hear at least two invitations in today’s Gospel reading from Luke. In these verses, we hear of Jesus fulfilling those words from Isaiah we heard on Monday “He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord” in his curing of Simon’s mother-in-law and others brought to him for healing. Right away my attention was grabbed by Simon’s mother-in-law getting up immediately and waiting on them after she was healed. At another time in my life, I was outraged at this. But today, it was simply and invitation for me to consider my response to the healing and mercy of God. I though back to times when I have been ill and wake up feeling so much better, or when I have been forgiven. My first response is one of gratitude. Gratefulness to feel “normal” again and relief to be back in right relationship. But do I, did I respond in any other way? It strikes me that Simon’s mother-in-law is “paying it forward” so to speak. She is using the gifts she has, preparing and serving food, to express her gratitude and in turn, minister and proclaim the Good News. My prayer with this scripture challenged me to consider how I “pay it forward” when I received not only God’s love and mercy but gifts from others as well, in effect manifesting the continual incarnation of God.
The second invitation for me was a little more subtle and in some was more difficult. It was in the form of two simple questions. Where in my life do I need to be open to receive healing, to hear the Good News? And, who might unexpectedly be proclaiming to me? I like to think that I have things all figured out or quickly respond “I’m fine” when someone asks how I am. I heard the invitation to be attentive to how things really are, how I am really doing and respond from a place authenticity and openness. God’s grace may be just waiting for me ask. Be aware for how God may be reaching out to me is what I heard. Someone may be paying it forward.
So, I offer these invitations today for us all to consider: