Project Description

5B

2 Job 7:1-4,6-7 / 1 Cor 16-19,22-23 / Mark 1:29-39

 

You know,

sometimes. . .

Jesus does things

that are just hard for us to understand. . .

like into today’s Gospel.

Jesus is in Capernaum. . .

That’s His home base in Galilee—

He would stay at Peter’s house.

And the word spreads about Jesus. . .

The word spreads about His great healing powers. . .

The word spreads about the authority He has over evil spirits.

So just imagine the people’s response. . .

they need help. . .

they’re sick and they’re maimed. . .

some are overwhelmed by mysterious forces of evil. . .

So, after sunset. . .

after the Sabbath is over. . .

Mark says that the whole town of Capernaum

comes to see Jesus. . .

 

Who can blame them?!?!?!

As I was picturing the throng of people

coming to Jesus. . .

I was picturing the thousands upon

thousands waiting in line. . .

all over the nation. . .

all over the world. . .

sometimes for hours. . .

to get the COVID vaccine.

People are scared and in need. . .

And right in their hometown

is a person much more powerful

than any vaccine. . .

A person who has the power to heal. . .

A person who has power defeat evil. . .

 So of course people flock to Him.

And when Jesus drives out a demon in Capernaum. . .

Mark says,

“Jesus didn’t permit them

to speak about him.”

That’s so strange isn’t it?!?!?!

 

It’s hard to understand.

Jesus, who comes as the Messiah for all. . .

Jesus, who comes and inaugurates the Kingdom of God. . .

Jesus, who comes to draw all to Himself. . .

Doesn’t permit the demons to tell anyone who He is.

And it gets even more strange

because many times

when Jesus heals someone of a disease. . .

He orders them:

“Don’t tell anyone. . .

keep what I’m doing a secret.”

Soon after this scene in Capernaum

Jesus heals a leper. . .

And says,

“See that you tell no one!!!”

Strange isn’t it!?!?

And just a little later on,

a Jewish official’s daughter is dead. . .

So, he comes to Jesus for help. . .

Jesus says,

“Little girl, I say to you, arise.”

And she rises!!!

And then Jesus gives strict orders not to tell anyone. . .

keep this a secret.

 

Strange isn’t it?!?!

Then Jesus travels to the Decapolis—

just right across the Jordan River—

And they bring a deaf person to Him. . .

And Jesus commands,

“Ephphatha!!!”. . .

“Be opened!!!”. . .

And immediately,

the deaf man’s ears are opened. . .

And what does Jesus say?

“Shh!!!”

“Don’t tell anybody.”

Strange isn’t it!?!?

 

“Don’t tell anybody!!!”

What in the world is going on?

Well, last Sunday I mentioned

what a talented writer St. Mark is . . .

and that Mark used to be considered

the “stepchild” of the four Gospels.

It’s the shortest Gospel. . .

so it lets us pay more attention to the others,

And Mark’s Greek isn’t the best. . .

And Mark doesn’t record much of Jesus’ teaching. . .

There’s no Sermon on the Mount in Mark. . . .

 

So Mark’s Gospel must be a little subpar.

Well, Mark’s reputation has

really changed over the last few decades.

After more in depth study. . .

Mark’s Gospel is considered a literary masterpiece. . .

And Mark emphasizing

Jesus’ telling people to keep things a secret

is part of Mark’s genius as a writer.

You see, Mark is stressing

Jesus’ big concern that his Messiah-ship

can be easily mis-interpreted. . .

That his mighty works would not be fully understood. . .

That his teachings would not be heard in their fullness. . .

without the context of the Crucifixion.

So Mark’s Jesus is saying don’t come to any conclusions. . .

Yet!!!

Don’t tell anyone who you think I really am. . .

Yet!!!

Because you won’t fully understand. . .

You won’t get it. . .

Until you see me on the Cross.. . .

And then you’ll realize it’s really not about my power. . .

it’s about my love. . .

my pure love. . .

my pure sacrificial love. . .

For you.

If you only see the powerful things I do. . .

You’ll get the wrong idea about me.

You’ll only understand me

when you see me crucified. . .

You’ll only understand who I am. . .

when you see me crucified. . .

and raised from the dead!!!

Mark is brilliant by emphasizing this.

 

So, these aren’t throwaway lines. . .

 

“Don’t tell anyone. . .”

 

“Keep this a secret. . .”

 

Mark’s Jesus is saying. . .

 

“Just wait”. . .

 

“Just wait and after the Crucifixion,

then you’ll understand!!!

It’s that same literary brilliance that

I mentioned last week. . .

in showing how Mark put his Gospel together.

The first part of Mark is like pushing

the fast forward button on a remote.

Jesus did this. . .

And then Jesus did that. . .

And then Jesus cured Peter’s mother-in-law. . .

And then Jesus does an exorcism. . .

There’s such urgency in Jesus’ mission. . .

it happens so fast . . .

But when Mark writes about the Passion. . .

which makes up a whopping 40% of his Gospel

He slows things way down. . .

He’s so unhurried. . .

It’s like pushing the slow motion

button on the remote.

That’s Mark pointing out again. . .

using his great writing skills. . .

that Jesus just can’t be understood

until you see His Passion. . .

It’s so unhurried. . .

So we can take it all in. . .

So we can see it clearly. . .

Mark is a genius.

This reminds me of a great story

about little St. Therese of Lisieux. . .

When she was a young girl,

the very first homily she understood

was a homily on the Passion.. .

And it had a great emotional impact on her. . .

And after that homily on the Passion. . .

Therese said she understood

every other homily she heard.

You know,

Mark is so right. . .

St. Therese is so right. . .

Jesus is so right!!!

Everything must be seen in

the context of the Passion. . .

in the context of Jesus’ infinite. . .

self-sacrificial. . .

and unwavering love for us.

We can’t understand who we are. . .

beloved Children of God. . .

held safely in the loving hands of God.

And this true whether God grants

us something miraculous. . .

or not. . .

because all things. . .

all things. . .

work together for the good of those who love God.

We can’t understand those things

without the Passion.

And we can’t understand that

our ultimate destiny is with God. . .

Where fear. . .

and suffering. . .

and death have been put in their place. . .

by the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus.

And while the Passion doesn’t help me

understand why there is a worldwide pandemic. . .

it does give me great hope. . .

because in the end. . .

love. . .

the Passion. . .

trumps all.

 

I want to end with another part of the story

of Jesus telling people to keep things a secret. . .

They couldn’t!!!

And if they couldn’t keep what Jesus was doing

before they saw the Crucifixion. . .

and the Resurrection. . .

then we sure can’t keep it a secret. . .

How can we not talk about Jesus. . .

Especially in times like these!

How can we not talk about Jesus?!?!?!?

 

Holy Spirit 02/06-07/2021