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Ask Jesus for a house call

Readings for Feb. 3-4, Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

By Lyn Zahorik | For On Mission

In this Sunday’s Gospel, we will hear about Jesus traveling to the house of Peter so that he could attend to Peter’s mother who was ill. So, it seems, Jesus was one of the first physicians to make “house calls.”

When I was a little girl, my grandfather lived with us, and he was ill and bedridden. I remember Grandpa waiting for the doctor to come to our house. The doctor would poke around in his black bag to pull out his instruments. Sometimes he would have a new salve or pill for Grandpa (and, of course, a lollipop for me). 

He would talk with my mother about foods she could make for Grandpa. Most importantly, the doctor made time for Grandpa, by simply spending time visiting. All my Grandpa had to do was be open and receive what the doctor was saying and doing. The doctor did all the rest.

Most doctors do not make house calls anymore. Things have become far more complicated. Recently, I was not feeling well. After waiting on the clinic phone line for a bit, I got to talk with a receptionist. She transferred me to a nurse who would speak to the doctor and get back to me. I was told to call the insurance company to make sure the tests being ordered were covered. And then there was that run to the pharmacy for some interim medicine. Finally, the coveted appointment was made for two months from now. The experience was exhausting.

In a few weeks, Lent will begin. With all our good intentions many of us are preparing for Lent in the same way I did with many things in preparation for my doctor appointment. 

Yes, I will go to the Stations of the Cross and pray a daily rosary. Weekly Eucharistic Adoration would be a good thing and the special Lenten adult education presentation on the Mass is something I need. I have that new spiritual book that I need to read and, of course, I should spend time helping at the homeless shelter or visiting people in the nursing home. Lent has not even started and our good intentions feel overwhelming.

A friend recently shared with me that when Jesus challenged us to “Repent!” in his native language his phrase actually was “Rethink your ways.” What might happen in our life if we rethought all that we know and feel about Lent, and approached the season simply by asking Jesus to make a house call? 

What could it feel like having to do nothing more than just be yourself and allow Jesus to minister to you? Can you see yourself engaged in conversation with Jesus about the things in your life that are causing you to feel a spiritual weakness of dryness? Could you quiet your mind and heart enough to hear Jesus’ voice beckoning you to certain Lenten practices? Rethink your ways.

There is good news ahead. Jesus makes house calls and his appointment book always has an immediate opening just for you.

Zahorik is director for spiritual engagement at St. Mary Parish, Omro, and St. Mary Parish, Winneconne.

The readings for Sunday, Jan. 28, can be found at Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time | USCCB.

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