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Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Cure of Simon's Mother-in-Law

Luke Chapter 4, 38-39
Narrator: Anya, a Jewish peasant woman of the time of Jesus

Story N. 5 (see previous posts)

The Sea of Galilee sparkles in the sun like a floating stretch of sapphire. It’s so clear that looking into its depth is like reading its most secret thoughts. Its waves are crowned with shining foam and they swell with pride. When they hit the rocks they turn into fountains of white sprinkles blowing in the air.

If you walk along the bank with your head down you will find small gifts to bring home to your children. They will build castles out of those shells and conches and give them back to you as a present. But there are no children waiting at home for Anya. No one needs her anymore, she’s free. That’s what she told Neri and Heli when she said good bye. Her husband protested that he didn’t want to find an empty home returning from the fields.
“You mean battlefields, in truth,” she retorted. “I won’t sit in our house wondering if you are still alive.”
Then it was Heli’s turn to argue with her. He insisted that she had to be there for his wedding. How were they going to organize a banquet without her?
“I’ll be back,” she promised. “I’ll count the days from now to the day of your wedding and I’ll do my best to come home in time. But Jesus and his disciples are leaving tomorrow and I have to follow them.
She cried a little, and then she was gone.

Anya is walking fast, afraid of a change of heart that would bring her back. Exhausted, she leans against a tree to rest for a moment. She looks toward the sky for a sign. Is she doing the right thing abandoning her family? But she sees only clouds, slowly spreading out against the blue sky. Her determination is already faltering. Neri and Heli are all she has in this world.
Remembering their life together, Anya is overwhelmed with sorrow. Where am I going?, she asks herself. And to do what? I must have lost my mind! Yet she resumes her walking toward Simon’s home and soon she’s running, as if haunted by her past.

Simon’s wife is sitting by her mother-in-law bedside. The older woman is feverish and pale. Anya wets her forehead, full of compassion. Do they know that the man of the house is about to leave them? The children are quietly playing outside. Will they miss their father? Doubts are assailing her again. Jesus…the disciples are about to leave everything behind to follow him. Simon believes that he’s the awaited Messiah, but what if he’s mistaken? As for her, she doesn’t care who he is. She just wants to be around him.

While Anya is entertaining these thoughts Jesus and his disciples appear at the door. The room is slowly filled with the sweet smell of roses and the golden phosphorescence of the sunset. Even the dusty corners are lightened by that soft luminescence. Jesus is shining of an inner power, so much so that everybody else around him seems opaque, as if swallowed by fog. He approaches the sick woman and takes her hand. The two of them are enveloped in a whirl of pure love. She gets up and looks at him, confused. Then she smiles.
“Sit down,” she says. “I’ll make you a nice dinner.”


Manny said...

I just love the way you describe Jesus. That last paragraph is wonderful. You didn't try to recreate all the details surrounding Peter's mother's cure. The sudden cure "enveloped in pure love" I think makes the whole scene stand out. We don't need the details.

Antonella said...

Thank you so much, Manny! I truly appreciate your appreciation!