The Gospel according to Mark (3:7-12)
Jesus withdrew toward the sea with his disciples. A large number of people followed from Galilee and from Judea. Hearing what he was doing, a large number of people came to him also from Jerusalem, from Idumea, from beyond the Jordan, and from the neighborhood of Tyre and Sidon. He told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, so that they would not crush him. He had cured many and, as a result, those who had diseases were pressing upon him to touch him. And whenever unclean spirits saw him they would fall down before him and shout, “You are the Son of God.” He warned them sternly not to make him known.
Reflection: We probably all have images of famous people being mobbed by fans. I am old enough to have vivid memories of the Beatles trying to get to their car, usually a limousine, being crushed by huge mobs of adoring fans. I remember a quote from John Lennon where he says that the Beatles were bigger than Jesus. We don’t have time to unravel the controversy that ensued, but it is interesting because his comment was an observation that at that moment in time the Beatles had more influence on their followers than Jesus.
In today’s gospel Jesus was anticipating being mobbed in the same way. This happens in Mark’s gospel after many occurrences where he heals and drives out demons. Of course, we know that Jesus wasn’t just about miracles. He also preached the good news that the long-awaited kingdom was at hand. Being that this was early in his ministry he had much to do to spread this message and prepare his followers for his passion, death, resurrection, and ascension. He knew as news of him spread events like the one he was anticipating would continue to occur possibly slowing down his mission. Although his fame was causing many to seek him, he was more interested in the influence of his father’s will. He wanted to fan a flame that would continue long after he left.
Although we may still enjoy the Beatles’ music their influence has diminished for various reasons. The biggest one is they are no longer together. Jesus on the other has managed, with the help of a small group of followers, in a time where they had none of our modern methods of communication to influence millions, billions of lives. He was in the beginning, came among us, died, rose, and is seated at the right hand of God for all of eternity. In light of this, John Lennon’s comment seems so irrelevant and inconsequential. The influence of Jesus Christ will continue for as long as this world exists. Nothing in life nor death itself can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus! Amen!!
Action of the Day: What do we allow to influence our minds and hearts? There are many distractions that lead us away from God and into sin. In this ordinary time before the Lenten season contemplate what separates us from the love of God. Pray for clarity and humility so that the obstacles to grace may be revealed and for God to help us overcome our weaknesses. Remember, stronger is he who is in us than he who is in the world.