JESUS WANTS US TO ENTER HIS KINGDOM
(A biblical refection on the FIFTH ORDINARY SUNDAY [YEAR B], 8 February 2015)
Gospel Reading: Mark 1:29-39
First Reading: Job 7:1-4,6-7; Psalms: Psalm 147:1-6; Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 9:16-19,22-23
And immediately He left the synagogue, and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever, and immediately they told Him of her. And He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up and the fever left her; and she served them.
That evening, at sundown, they brought to Him all who were sick or possessed with demons. And the whole city was gathered together about the door. And He healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew Him.
And in the morning, a great while before day, He rose and went out to a lonely place, and there He prayed. And Simon and those who were with Him followed Him, and they found Him and said to Him, “Every one is searching for You.” And He said to them, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also; for that is why I came out.” And He went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons. (Mark 1:29-39 RSV)
Imagine ourselves (you and I) were in the entourage of a famous athlete – say Serena Williams. Every game is sold out because of the crowd’s interest in the star player. After the game, fans clamor for an autograph or for just a glimpse of the player. The adulation of the crowds would surely be intoxicating, both for the player and the friends who surround her.
Similarly, in Capernaum, the crowd’s interest in Jesus was reaching frenzied proportions. Not only had He made a deep impression on them with His teaching, He also drove out an unclean spirit, healed Peter’s mother-in-law, and performed cures for all the sick and possessed who crowded around His door. No wonder, when Jesus disappeared early in the morning, the disciples went looking for Him: He had fans to attend to! But Jesus gave the disciples an unexpected answer: “Let us go on to the next towns” (Mark 1:38).
Jesus never allowed the admiration of the crowds to distract Him from His purpose. The Father had sent Him into the world to open the way for us to enter into His Kingdom, and Jesus worked until He reached His goal (Luke 13:32-33). He always kept His eyes on this goal, no matter how busy He was or how many people made demands on Him. He was not interested in the crowd’s adulation, He wanted them to enter the Kingdom.
Two thousand years later, Jesus remains just as focused as He was then. When He enters our hearts at baptism and gives Himself to us in the Holy Eucharist, He longs to banish the darkness of sin and establish His Kingdom in us. Not only does He want to comfort and encourage us, He wants to pierce our hearts with His truth, to deliver us from evil, and to commission us as His servants. Will you give Jesus the chance to reveal Himself to you today? Will you allow Him to give you a glimpse of what His Kingdom can look like in your life? Are you willing to be sent out as a witness to His Kingdom?
Short Prayer: Lord Jesus, I open my heart to you. Establish Your Kingdom in me. Use me to bring others to you. Amen.
Jakarta, 6 February 2015
A Christian Pilgrim