In the gospel from Mark, we read about Jesus preaching and teaching in Capernaum, much like he has done in many other towns and villages. It’s interesting that it seems those who have gathered are finally hearing and taking him seriously. He was being seen by many as having authority, in other words, he was being taken seriously. This could be a good thing or not! We are told his fame spread throughout the whole region of Galilee.
Jesus had many followers. He was revered by many who listened and believed the message he came to share. People came from near and far to be healed and to check out this man, Jesus! We can tell that Jesus must have felt good about the fact that he was having success in spreading the word! On the other hand, there were those in authority, pharisees and scribes who were beginning to feel threatened by this itinerant preacher from Nazareth, of all places, who seemed to be gaining in popularity. In their minds, this was not good news!
Today we are bombarded with many different factions who all have a message to share, a promise to offer, a product to make all things better. They ask us to trust their message, buy their products and believe in those promises. Oftentimes it’s hard to know who to believe and trust that what is being said and done is the right thing for the good of all. I often wonder if Jesus was walking the streets of our cities, neighborhoods, churches and public markets with the message that he preached so long ago in faraway places like Capernaum, Galilee, Nazareth, would we welcome his message or would we find the messenger despicable, dangerous or even a fraud!
Jesus is our authority figure who loves us, challenges us, and walks with us throughout good times and unhappy times. The Good News he preaches calls us to challenge those in authority who may not have our best interests at heart. We are called to ask the hard questions, to take a stand that might make us unpopular or make us uncomfortable. Psalm 95 responsorial psalm reminds us that:
“If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts’.
Jesus calls us to lead with authority as people who have seen a great light, his light and life. May our lives reflect hearts that are not hard, but, rather open to serving those most in need in our community and world.
Theresa Secord is a retired Pastoral Associate at St. Agnes Parish, Louisville, Kentucky.