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. . .
“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. . .
“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. . .
“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!!!”. . .
the deaf man’s ears are opened. . .
And what does Jesus say?
“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. . .
Don’t tell anyone who you think I really am. . .
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. . .
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.
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. . .
I want to end with another part of the story
of Jesus telling people to keep things a secret. . .
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