February 3, 2012

5th Sunday - B (February 5, 2012)


"For this purpose have I come"

Mark, even in the very first chapter of his Gospel, continues to portray a Jesus who is on his mission.

Jesus is absolutely clear of what his life is about: to carry out God's plan for him -- that is to preach the Kingdom of God.

The passage begins with Jesus at his mission of preaching and healing.

He has just left the synagogue where he taught and healed a man with an unclean spirit.

He now continues his mission of preaching and healing.

And nothing can stop him.

Social taboos and convention do not stop him. In healing Simon's mother-in-law, he - a man - grasps the hand if a woman, a taboo in that culture. He then allows her to serve him, breaking another convention. A "self-respecting rabbi" would not be served by a woman. Worse, he does all of these on a Sabbath. [1]

Jesus does not allow anything to stop him from preaching the Kingdom to all people, especially to those who might be considered outsiders.

Noe does he allow himself to be stopped by popularity and worldly success. He does not stay in that location even though "everyone is looking for" him.

Jesus is able to stay focused on his mission because he anchors his life on the Father who sent him. In the midst of all his activities and successes, he rises early in the morning and goes off to a deserted place to pray.

Thus, nothing can stop him in fulfilling the Father's plan. "for this purpose have I come."

And it's not just his mission. He invites the disciples to share it with him, "Let us go on." [2]

[1]. Francis J. Moloney, The Gospel of Mark, p. 55.

[2]. Ibid., p. 57.

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