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. (Mark 3:7-12)
Today in the Gospel we see something on which we can never focus enough: the great attractiveness of the Lord Jesus.
Mark tells us that such a large crowd of people were following Jesus that he needed to have a boat ready to push a little bit away from the shore so that the people wouldn’t crush him.
They were all pressing upon Jesus, who was curing and teaching. Even the demons couldn’t resist. When they saw him, they fell down before him — in other words, in begrudging adoration — and shouted, “You are the Son of God.”
We need constantly to ask whether Jesus maintains this attraction for us and others.
Many say they believe in him, but what they likely mean is that they believe he existed; 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. 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 take Jesus seriously will, in union with him, go out as Good Samaritans to care for a wounded world. Jesus has never lost his attractiveness. He’s as attractive today as ever. But many times, our lives, our hearts, our minds, are so saturated with worldly cares and anxieties, with lesser hopes, with 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.
You might be a person who for years has carried a hurt in your heart, a resentment against a family member or a friend that has alienated you from that person. That anger might be so much a part of you that you that you cannot imagine truly being able to forgive or to be forgiven. This gospel tells you it is not too late. Turn to Jesus and ask for mercy and believe that Jesus has the power to grant it.
You might be a person who for most of your life has struggled with a habit of sin. It might be prejudice or selfishness or some kind of addiction. As much as you have struggled against it, you have never been able to conquer it. It seems that you can never change. It is not too late. Turn to Jesus and ask him to remember you. Believe that he has the power to save you.
There might be someone in your life who you love and who you worry about all the time. You worry because this person is depressed, has made a mess of things, or lives without hope. Despite your prayers and efforts, that person has never been able to find happiness. It is never too late. Believe in a God who seeks out the lost and forgotten and will save even those who have no hope.
If Jesus could save a convicted criminal in the last moments of life and make him the first to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, then none of us can limit God’s power to save and to heal us. So turn to Jesus. Call out his name. Believe that despite our desperation, our doubt, and our unworthiness, he wants to share life with us. He intends to welcome us into paradise.
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.”
Receive God’s word with expectant faith, persevering hope, and fervent love
When you read God’s word and consider all that Jesus said and did, how do you respond? With indifference, hesitation, or skepticism, or with expectant faith, love, and willing obedience? Ask the Lord Jesus to draw you to himself with increasing faith, fervent love, and eager readiness to do his will.