Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Healing Touch

Our reading from Saint Mark today is from a time of visibility. It’s from the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, and he’s quite open and public with his work. He’s in the home of Simon and Andrew in Capernaum, where, when evening comes, the many people from the town gather around the door. There, in that public and visible place, Jesus heals the sick and casts demons out of the possessed. And, as our reading continues, Jesus and the disciples move on to the neighboring town of Galilee to continue the public proclamation of the gospel.

But if we were to continue reading in Mark’s Gospel, we would not go far before finding that visibility soon gets Jesus into trouble. Our reading is from chapter 1. The next chapter reports Jesus’ healing of a paralytic, his calling of another disciple, his discussion with the Pharisees about fasting and his response to a complaint about his disciples plucking grain on the Sabbath. And chapter 3 opens with an account of Jesus healing a man with a withered hand in a Capernaum synagogue on a Sabbath day. The very next verse says, “The Pharisees went out and immediately conspired with the Herodians against Jesus, how to destroy him.”

There it is. Jesus’ public ministry has barely begun, and already people in authority are plotting to bring him down.

The very next verse tells us that Jesus departs from the synagogue and heads instead to the Sea of Galilee, where he continues his work with the crowds, but already he has had to start avoiding certain public arenas.