2ND WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
1st Reading: Heb 7:25—8:6
Jesus is always able to save those who approach God through him, since he lives forever to make intercession for them. It was fitting that we should have such a high priest: holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, higher than the heavens. He has no need, as did the high priests, to offer sacrifice day after day, first for his own sins and then for those of the people; he did that once for all when he offered himself. For the law appoints men subject to weakness to be high priests, but the word of the oath, which was taken after the law, appoints a son, who has been made perfect forever. The main point of what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, a minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle that the Lord, not man, set up. Now every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; thus the necessity for this one also to have something to offer. If then he were on earth, he would not be a priest, since there are those who offer gifts according to the law. They worship in a copy and shadow of the heavenly sanctuary, as Moses was warned when he was about to erect the tabernacle. For God says, “See that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” Now he has obtained so much more excellent a ministry as he is mediator of a better covenant, enacted on better promises.
Gospel: Mk 3:7-12
Jesus withdrew toward the sea with his disciples. A large number of people followed from Galilee and from Judea. Hearing what he was doing, a large number of people came to him also from Jerusalem, from Idumea, from beyond the Jordan, and from the neighborhood of Tyre and Sidon. He told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, so that they would not crush him. He had cured many and, as a result, those who had diseases were pressing upon him to touch him. And whenever unclean spirits saw him they would fall down before him and shout, “You are the Son of God.” He warned them sternly not to make him known.
Hearing what he was doing…: Jesus moves away from the synagogue towards the sea. There, a large number of people from different places including pagan territories come looking for him. These people were attracted to him because of what they had heard or even witnessed. Jesus had performed mighty works. The scenario is quite different when compared to the times he was in the synagogue. Here the people want to feel his presence; they want to touch him. They want to encounter him, and to be in contact with him. We have the opportunity of touching Jesus in the Word of God and in the sacraments. From him flows the power that cleanses us and makes us whole.
Prayer: Lord, you are in our midst. Help us to realize and cherish your presence. Amen.
FALL DOWN: In the first reading, the Israelites rejoice at their victory. God has granted them victory over the Philistines. However, there are two reactions to this. On the one part, the people are jubilant at the victory. I imagine David is also grateful to God for having delivered the Philistines to them. On the contrary, Saul is angry, bitter, jealous. He even desires to kill David. In the gospel reading, the large numbers are happy and follow Jesus for healing. A great one is among them to bring them joy. On the contrary, the unclean spirits feel threatened. They fall down in front of him with fear. We experience and encounter God, do we do so in joy and praise as we see his might, or do we fear? Are we jealous of God’s work amidst our fellow human beings, or do we rejoice in their success?
Prayer: Lord help us to admit your only begotten Son and submit ourselves to him in joy
COMPASSION IN EVERY WAY: The gospel passage gives an insight into what Jesus’ ministry was like, and the impact it had. How the crowds flocked to Jesus from all the regions surrounding Galilee to hear Jesus preach, to bring the sick to be healed and the demon possessed to be delivered. So many people flocked to Jesus that he ordered his disciples to get a small boat ready for him, to keep the people from crowding him, such was the hunger and desire people had to be near Jesus. The response to Jesus was huge, and one of the reasons why was because of the compassion Jesus had for these people. Jesus had compassion and love for all people, for the sick, the lost, the lonely, the homeless, the disposed, everyone, and he never turned anyone away. When Jesus visited the synagogue in his home town of Nazareth he laid out his manifesto, quoting from Isaiah 61: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me. . .’ (Luke 4:18-19). He longed for people to be healed in body, mind and spirit, and in fulfilling this manifesto he met all kinds of people in all sorts of places. However, crowded or under pressure, he always has time for people, and he never turned anyone away. Do I have time for others?
LEARNING TO BE FREE: Jesus finds himself in a difficult predicament, but makes smart moves and tides over the situation. Big crowds that are not just listeners but people with real needs, follow him. Jesus attracts such a flowing since He truly is a leader with a difference. He expresses warmth and care in His interactions. His words radiate a presence that transmits life. He stands different from the popular notion of a messiah, a marauding emperor or conquering king, mighty and powerful. He presents a different notion of a Messiah: servant that is full of self-sacrifice and unconditional love; culminating on the cross. At a time when the digital technology has exploded, and humans seem to shrink into themselves hooked to their gadgets, what does Jesus say? We are challenged to have an interest in people rather than in gadgets. Let us draw our lessons from a Saviour who engages people, who is at home with the crowds and spends all he has for their well-being.