Thursday, February 8, 2018

Bishop’s Note: February 8, 2018 – An Attitude of Gratitude

Bishop Eric Menees

Last Sunday’s gospel lesson, from the Gospel of Mark chapter 1 verses 29-39, are some of my favorite scriptures.  The story of Jesus’ healing of Simon Peter’s mother-in-law gives a wonderful snapshot into the life of Jesus and his disciples.

It’s Saturday afternoon; Sabbath services are just ending, and Simon Peter has invited his brother Andrew, Jesus, James, and John to supper at his house. Simon Peter has gone on ahead to make preparations, but he has discovered that his mother-in-law, whom he hoped would make dinner, is lying ill in bed with a fever. Simon Peter meets Jesus at the front door – apologetic about supper not being ready, and probably suggesting another alternative. But Jesus will have none of that; he asked to see the ill woman. Simon Peter leads Jesus back to his mother-in-law. Jesus leans down and takes the woman’s hand in his. Immediately, the fever leaves her, she rises, washes her hands, and begins to prepare the Sabbath supper.

Jesus’ compassion is without bounds! He demonstrates this compassion to Simon Peter’s mother-in-law, and to Simon Peter and his wife. As Christians, we expect to see Jesus heal the sick, but what I love to see is the mother-in-law’s response. She rises and immediately begins to serve Jesus. Now, Jesus didn’t heal her in order to get supper cooked, and she didn’t serve out of social habit. She responded out of gratitude. Gratitude for her healing; gratitude for the visit of such a holy man coming to her home; and gratitude for Jesus’ special attention paid to her son-in-law.

This year we are examining the behaviors and attitudes of disciples of Jesus Christ. Gratitude is both an attitude and a fruit of the character of a disciple of Jesus Christ.

As we enter into the season of Lent, I invite you to ponder the sacrifice that Jesus made on your behalf, and the response that sacrifice has elicited with in you.

During the season of Lent we often practice the virtue of self-sacrifice, and I encourage you to do so this Lent as well. But in addition, I would like to invite you to consider acts of kindness and gratitude, as demonstrations of your attitude of gratitude.

I pray you all a very blessed Lent!

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