Friday, 20 February 2009

7th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year B

Isaiah 43:18-19,21-22,24-25; 2Corinthians 1:18-22; Mark 2:1-12

The gospel today shows us two groups in action - a large group (a crowd) and a small group (four men).

The 'crowd' is a major player in the New Testament. It is interesting to look a little more closely at it.

Wherever Jesus went he was followed by the crowd - enthusiastic, eager, thronging.
  • Mk 2:13 - He went out again beside the sea; and all the crowd gathered about him...
  • Mk 5:21 - And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him.
  • Mk 9:15 - And immediately all the crowd, when they saw him … ran up to him and greeted him.
  • Mk 3:9 - And he told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they should crush him ...
Jesus always distinguished his followers from the crowd.
  • Mk 4:11 - He answered them, ‘The mystery of the kingdom of God has been granted to you. But to those outside everything comes in parables…’
Jesus leaves the crowd …
  • Mk 4:36 - And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat…
Jesus dismisses the crowd …
  • Mtt 9:25 - But when the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose.
Jesus escapes from the crowd …
  • Jn 6:15 - Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain alone...
But he also has compassion on the crowd … he feeds them
  • Mk 8:2 - I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days, and have nothing to eat; And he commanded the crowd to sit down on the ground...
Jesus teaches them …
  • Mk 2:13 - He went out again beside the sea; and all the crowd gathered about him, and he taught them.
The crowd is of its nature fickle, unthinking, and unreliable.
  • Mtt 21:8 - Most of the crowd spread their garments on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him shouted, "Hosanna…"
  • Mk 15:11 - But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release for them Barabbas instead. … And they cried out again, "Crucify him."
  • Mk 14:43 - And immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders.
Sometimes individuals come out of the crowd into relationship with the Lord.
  • Mk 5:30 - Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him, turned around in the crowd and asked, "Who has touched my clothes?" But his disciples said to him, "You see how the crowd is pressing upon you, and yet you ask, 'Who touched me?'" And he looked around to see who had done it. The woman, realizing what had happened to her, approached in fear and trembling.
  • Mk 9:17 - Someone from the crowd answered him, "Teacher, I have brought to you my son possessed by a mute spirit".
In today’s Gospel we see one of the worst characteristics of the crowd … it often blocks the way to Jesus.
  • Mk 2:4 - (the men carrying the paralytic) … they could not get near him (Jesus) because of the crowd...
  • Mtt 20:29 - And as they went out of Jericho, a great crowd followed him. And behold, two blind men sitting by the roadside, when they heard that Jesus was passing by, cried out, "Have mercy on us, Son of David!" The crowd rebuked them, telling them to be silent...
  • Lk 8:19 - Then his mother and his brethren came to him, but they could not reach him for the crowd...
  • Lk 19:3 (Zacchaeus) And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not, on account of the crowd…
The other group we see in the Gospel today is a small group of four men. These men carry a litter on which lies a paralytic. They are bringing him to Jesus but the crowd stops them. Undaunted they devise a plan. They work together to lift the man up onto the roof. They take the tiles from the roof and lower him down to Jesus.

This small group shows concentration, unity of purpose, determination, perseverance, initiative, patience, resourcefulness, courage, imagination, energy and love. It is not a group at all, really, it is a community - a community of love - an evangelising community which brings others to Jesus.
  • Which of these two groups best represents our Parish? Are we a crowd or are we a community?
  • What do we wish to be? A crowd or a community?
  • Do we make it easier or harder for others to find Christ?
  • At the very least, the journey of this parish must be from ‘crowd’ to ‘community’. How do you think we might achieve this?

3 comments:

Janet said...

I like this defining characteristic you give to a 'community' i.e. bringing people closer to Christ. Too often we think community is all about us, a nice little group of 'us' who like one another and are happy being 'us' together, celebrating ourselves and our goodness and our diversity and our inclusiveness ... But how easily we forget to include that 'little Jesus factor' ... Where do we fit him in?

Anonymous said...

Dublin, Ireland. Another view from a distance!
'heal the sick' (Matt. 10:8)
As I see it,whatever our physical needs, we also have a need to receiveGod'sforgiveness. Jesus'healing of the man in todays Gospel did not begin with his immediate physical need but with 'the forgiving of His sins'
IE. I'm sure the man was not seeking forgiveness but Jesus first identified the mans deepest Spiritual needs before he set him free from his physical need.
Think about it!
PACEBENE
Frank

Delima said...

What a wonderful teaching on this gospel...so many insights...so many lessons....so much to ponder. Your blog is a goldmine of spirituality. Thank you.