In this periscope Jesus has just begun his Galilean Ministry. What is important about this is that the Galileans people were very open to new ideas. Fifty-percent of the people were Jewish and the other fifty percent were Gentiles. This made the Romans nervous because this openness to new ideas could issue into a revolt. Emperor Herod was an extremely threatened personality. This is seen in the assassination of his wife, his mother-in-law, and three sons! John the Baptists was another one of Harrods’ victims.
Very briefly Mark says that Jesus called his disciples. It might be worthwhile to mention that Jesus found his disciples working on their fishing nets. When Jesus meets them he invites, or calls them to be his disciples. They dropped everything their nets, their boats, their father and his laborers. If there is a lesson to be learned here, it is: that when Jesus called his disciples, it did not follow after a lengthy conversation, He chooses people who are responsible. Also when Jesus calls, it’s a summons. It is like jury duty, It cannot be refused.
What has happened here is that Jesus has left Nazareth, not to return. From this point on Jesus’ psychological home is in Capernaum.
Jesus has just cured a demoniac, followed by the call of his disciples, and after this Peter’s Mother-in-law. These three events may all be called “miracles.” In Matthew’s Gospel the call of Matthew the tax collector is one of Jesus greatest miracles. If this is Matthew’s thought, I would think the other disciples have the same sentiment. I am sure all of us consider our “call” a miracle.
The miracles of Jesus are a sign that the Reign of God is in place. Jesus has power over evil. This is the only place in the Gospels that Jesus is referred to as “Holy One of God.” This is what our summons our call reminds us, that one of our duties is to eliminate “evil” wherever we are called.
Fr. Ken O’Malley, C.P., is the local superior at Holy Name Passionist Community in Houston, Texas.