Jesus departed with his disciples to the sea, and a great multitude from Galilee followed him; hearing all that he was doing, they came to him in great numbers from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, beyond the Jordan, and the region around 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; for he had cured many, so that all who had diseases pressed upon him to touch him. Whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and shouted, “You are the Son of God!” But he sternly ordered them not to make him known. ( Mark 3:7-12)
We read today how the multitudes came from far and wide to see Jesus Christ. It was a mixed group for sure. Some came because His message resonated with them. Some came out of curiosity. Some came, not because of His words but rather because they wanted something. And, then there were the demons and the Pharisees.
The majority of the crowd’s experience of Christianity is driven by its desire. It’s about them getting what they want. They want to touch Jesus and be blessed in some way so they can go on about their lives.
Even today, we see, again and again, that some relate to Jesus as we would relate to the local grocer and go to him only when we need something. For many, Jesus Christ has become a little like Abraham Lincoln, a revered figure of the past but not someone with whom one has a personal relationship.
They say they believe in him, but what they mean is that they believe he existed, but they don’t really live by faith, committing themselves to him and being drawn fundamentally not by duty but by fascination, by love, by attraction.
Many self-professed Christians, including those who externally practice the faith, are by their own admission not really disciples, not really hungry learners and followers of the Lord. They might say some prayers but they never encounter the Lord in prayer.
But the way that Jesus wants to save us is not outside of us without our participation. He wants to save us through transforming us from within to unite ourselves with Him. He wants to involve us in His own priesthood so that we can convert our entire life into a sacrifice of love for God and others.
Those who are fascinated by Jesus will hunger for his word and become men and women whose lives are drenched by the daily dew of the Gospel. Those who are attracted by Jesus will come to him in adoration and say, with Samuel, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”
Those who take Jesus seriously will, in union with him, go out as Good Samaritans to care for a wounded world. There is a lot of “hurt” in this world and there is so much that could be done to heal if we took our belief in Jesus Christ seriously. Not just on Sunday or when we get together in a Church function but every, single day.
Our world is partially populated by extremists on the left and the right. Imagine how empty their arsenals of hatred would be if we were extremists of our faith. Extremists of our faith in the sense that we were driven and had the passion to live out His words.
Jesus is as attractive today as ever. But many times, our lives, our hearts, our minds, are so weighed down by so many worldly cares and anxieties, by so many lesser hopes, by so many false gods that we place first in our lives, that the type of wonder, fascination, love and attraction we’re supposed to have toward Jesus is extinguished partially or fully.
Maybe it’s time that instead of going to the store for a can of beans, we decide to buy all that it has to offer and enjoy a repast with Him.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus Christ, you are the Son of God and the Savior of the world. Inflame my heart with a burning love for you and with an expectant faith in your saving power. Set me free from all that hinders me from drawing closer to you.”
It is by faith that we touch Jesus. And far better to touch him by faith than to touch or handle him with the hands only and not by faith. It was no great thing to merely touch him manually. Even his oppressors doubtless touched him when they apprehended him, bound him, and crucified him, but by their ill-motivated touch they lost precisely what they were laying hold of. O worldwide church! It is by touching him faithfully that your ‘faith has made you whole’ (Augustine of Hippo 354-430 A.D.)