The second part of this week’s Gospel follows an interlude in which Jesus has again instructed his disciples to set out in their boat. Jesus himself goes off alone to pray, but then he notices that the wind has picked up on the sea and his disciples are struggling against the elements. Mark then describes Jesus as striding out on the water, as if it were the most natural thing in the world! When he sees that his friends are overwhelmed with fear and exhaustion, he joins them in their boat; and the wind becomes still.
Mark helps us to keep our focus. The disciples have their work to do, and so do we. But the good news is never about the strength of the disciples. It’s about the compassion and steadfastness of Jesus.
Our reading picks up as the boat lands on the far shore. Once again there is a crowd. As Jesus is recognized, people rush to bring those who are sick, confident that he can help them. Mark is wonderfully suggestive with regard to the diversity of the people in need when he describes Jesus as going into “villages and cities and farms” (AP).
The gospel calls us to be aware of the great variety of people and places for whom Christ has compassion. The good news in Mark’s busy Gospel is that none of us has been abandoned to the forces of chaos and death, no matter how those forces may present themselves. In Jesus, we see God coming to us wherever we are. He comes when we are hungry or sick. He comes when we are struggling against adverse conditions. He comes as we share together the excitement of our work. He comes as we reflect on his words in quiet solitude.
O God, we are grateful for all the ways you come to us. Heal us today as we once again reach out to touch the fringe of your cloak. Amen.
David was God’s anointed king over Israel. He believed God desired a house, a temple worthy of God. But God wanted David to understand that only God can build things that truly last. Thus, God promised to construct a dynasty from David’s family. From this line will eventually come the ultimate King, the Messiah, who will rule God’s people forever. The Messiah will complete God’s work of uniting all people as children of God, and the author of Ephesians declares that this has happened through Christ. All God’s people—Jew and Gentile—are now part of a holy, spiritual temple. In Mark, Jesus shows that part of being a great king is showing compassion. He puts aside his own desires to help those in need of guidance and healing.
Read 2 Samuel 7:1-14a. When have you changed your opinion on something significant? What led to the change?
Read Psalm 89:20-37. What helps you recall God’s faithfulness in times when you may feel abandoned?
Read Ephesians 2:11-22. Where have you found Christ breaking down dividing walls between groups of people? What part does your Christian community play in bringing people together?
Read Mark 6:30-34, 53-56. When have you had an experience of illness or accident that left you isolated from community? How did that increase your awareness of others in that situation as you moved to health?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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