After making the crossing to the other side of the sea, Jesus and his disciples came to land at Gennesaret and tied up there. As they were leaving the boat, people immediately recognized him. They scurried about the surrounding country and began to bring in the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. Whatever villages or towns or countryside he entered, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak; and as many as touched it were healed. (Mark 6:53-56)
What was happening in today’s scripture?
People were flocking to Jesus. For sure they recognized that Jesus had power from God to heal and to make whole bodies, limbs, minds, and hearts that were beset with disease, affliction, and sin. What happened when they pressed upon him and touched the fringe of his garment? They were made well.
That was, in deed, miraculous. But its also the story of faith.
Faith is a grace given to us by God. But, for many, it takes years to recognize. For others, it never comes. Believing and trusting in God to act in our lives is possible by the grace and help of the Holy Spirit who moves the heart and converts it to God. The Holy Spirit opens the eyes of the mind and helps us to understand, accept, and believe God’s word.
But opening the eyes of our heart is difficult for some. Yet, there is an easy way that we overlook. The gospel points to what we should be looking for: the presence of God in our lives and in our world.
At the heart of the gospel is the conviction that our God is not absent, is not idle, but active. Through the resurrection of Jesus, God is working to establish a kingdom, a kingdom of justice, of peace and of love. We believe that that kingdom is being established through God’s power and through our cooperation. Believers are always on the look-out to see signs of that kingdom, signs of God’s presence in our world. Because Christians are looking for those signs, their lives are characterized by joy and hope.
Joy and hope.
Christians are a joyful people because each time that we see a sign of God’s presence, we rejoice. Each time medical science makes another advance, we rejoice. We rejoice because we recognize that it is God’s action and power directing that development. Every time that we survive a difficult period in our marriage, recognize a family member has moved towards reconciliation, or learn that our child or our grandchild is born healthy and safe, we celebrate. We see in all of these events the signs of God establishing the kingdom. Christians are people of joy.
We are also people of hope, because when evil strikes, we do not give up. Instead, we hope that God is active in a way that we cannot yet perceive. All of these evils that are present in our world do not lead us to despair but to action. We give our energies towards building a more peaceful and just world. When someone we love is struck with cancer, when our marriage ends, when someone we trust betrays us, we continue to hope that God will still save us. We look forward to a future in which God’s action and love will become clear.
Other people will look at the blessings of life and the heartbreaks of life and interpret them differently. It is only with the gift of faith and our willingness to accept it that we can see God’s action among us.
Let us open our eyes, not to be blinded, but to see—to see God’s presence here among us and in the events of our world and then to live as Christ’s disciples in the joy and in the hope that only faith can bring.
After all, living as a disciple of Christ is bringing faith alive.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus, let my heart sing for joy in your presence. Give me eyes of faith to recognize your presence and fill me with your Holy Spirit that I may walk in your way of love and peace.”
The Lord gives us what we need to live each day for his glory. The Lord is never too distant nor too busy to meet us and to give his blessing. When you pray, do so in confidence that he is there and will answer in a manner which is consistent with his plan for reach of us. Ask the Lord to increase your faith and gratitude for his merciful love and provision for your life.