Gospel Reflection for Thursday – 2nd Week in Ordinary Time (19 January) – Crowds follow Jesus
Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of Mark (3: 7-12) in which large crowds from Galilee follow Jesus to the lake, where Jesus has to get into a boat to prevent being crushed by the crowd.
Fr Paul says Jesus withdraws to the lakeside, where a great crowd gathers, which in Matthew’s Gospel he will use as the audience for his great gathering of Jesus’ teaching, the Sermon on the Mount. Mark only gives us a summary of Jesus’ wonderful works of mercy and healing.
The importance of these works was that they showed the coming of God’s Kingship in the power of God wonderfully at work in Jesus.
We, the witnesses, are gradually discovering who and what Jesus is. This is expressed not by the people but by the unclean spirits, whose testimony is more forceful than any human witness. Let’s not forget that the first human being to hail Jesus as ‘Son of God’ is the centurion at the crucifixion of Jesus.
Here, Fr Paul notes, the unclean spirits, like the unclean spirit in Mark 1:24, are forced to admit that God is at work in Jesus. It is perhaps possible to understand Mark as meaning no more than this. But the full Christian revelation of the Gospels leaves no doubt that Jesus was seen as himself divine.
In closing, Fr Paul notes the Gospel Lesson for today: All of us – even Jesus – need a way to escape from time to time in order to escape the crush, to recharge the batteries, so that we can do more.