FEB. 8. ORDINARY TIME. WK. 5. MON. MK. 6. 53-56
Having made the crossing, Jesus and his disciples came to land at Gennesaret and tied up. No sooner had they stepped out of the boat than people recognised him, and started hurrying all through the countryside and brought the sick on stretchers to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he went, to village, or town, or farm, they laid down the sick in the open spaces, begging him to let them touch even the fringe of his cloak. And all those who touched him were cured.
“No sooner had they stepped out of the boat than people recognised him!” A tragedy today is that so many people fail to recognise Christ as the Son of God; - as they are so focused on the attractions of the world!
Certainly the people in today’s reading, in the time of Christ, had the advantage of having heard Christ’s preaching, and witnessed all these miracles, but we also have some advantages, in that Christ’s teachings have been examined in depth, and fully explained by the Church.
So we have the endless preachings or the Church; - we have the Gospels; - we have the Liturgy; - we have the experiences and teachings of the Saints; - and we have the Sacraments; - and particularly the Holy Eucharist!
But despite having been given all these Gifts, by Christ, we fail to “recognise” him, or comprehend the enormity of what he left us. As a result we fail to give him our time, in contrast to today’s reading where “people recognised him, and started hurrying all through the countryside and brought the sick on stretchers!”
It could be argued that because of all the preaching, and Sacraments, and the examples of all the Saints, that we are in an even better position today because of our Faith!
We must never forget that Christ did not become a man, and live among us, because he wanted to establish an earthly “Kingdom”, or to have large crowds following him here. It was exactly the opposite as he clearly rejected all the “attractions” and the “pleasures” of the world!
Christ did come to establish a “Kingdom”, but it was an Eternal Kingdom in Heaven; - a Kingdom that demanded “Faith in his teachings”, and required that we follow his teachings and example; - with a view to “Dwelling with him, in a union of Love”; - here and in Heaven!
Christ actually told his followers that it was “good that I go”, and the reason for this was so their focus would be on “the things of Heaven”, rather than “the things on earth!” His intention was to set up a “Faith Community”; - people who would “Believe” in his teachings!
And we are those people; - a “People of God” who “believe in his teaching”; a people of Faith!
At no point did Christ promise or teach that his followers would be either “successful” or have “a good life!” Quite the contrary; - “If any man wants to come my way, let him deny himself, take up his Cross and follow me!”
If we want to be “Followers of Christ” we must be “People of Faith”, people who “believe” in Christ and strive to imitate “a man born in a stable and died on a Cross”; a vocation that demands we: Study the Gospels; - Receive the Sacraments; - Pray; - and practice Charity!