Heb 2:14-18; Ps 105:1-9; Mk 1:29-39
One of the most wondrous deeds of the Christ is his forgiveness of sins. In today’s gospel he reveals that he can forgive and heal, at the same time! In today’s psalm we join in the jubilation of those who witnessed the saving deeds of the LORD. To reveal his faithfulness to his covenant love the Father preformed great signs and wonders in the exodus and in the exile. When the LORD remembers his covenant things happen. The People of God are set free and brought home. We too are summoned to glory in His Holy Name; we too are to rejoice that the One we seek first comes out to find us. All the nations behold the signs of the Father’s faithful love toward the sons of Abraham and Jacob. Throughout the earth the LORD’s judgments prevail. His covenant love is not hidden; his covenant love reveals his presence in the history of his Chosen People. This saving love is revealed in the story of his faithful people, and it is even more clearly seen in his faithful servant, the New Jacob, the Lord Jesus Christ. Such is the cause for rejoicing in the Letter to the Hebrews; it has become our cause for joy. The gospel today reveals that even illness and sin do not keep us enslaved. In Christ we are finally liberated from death and demons. We can hardly hold back the good news of his wondrous deeds of the Saving Lord. Indeed, like our liberated ancestors, we too “proclaim all his wondrous deeds!”
The most wondrous deed of the LORD is the incarnation. In his own experience of flesh and blood the Lord Jesus was enabled by his death to conquer death and the one who has the power of death, the Devil. It is by fear of death that the Devil has keep us enslaved for countless generations. How does the fear of death enslave? One way we have struggled is with the cynicism that arises from the fear that death is the end not the beginning. Why not eat, drink, and be merry today because we might be dead tomorrow? Such a fear of death promotes our self-centered attitudes and our selfish behaviors. We who are so enslaved seldom find the motivation to be generous and other oriented? The One who made a covenant with Abraham and his children is faithful by sending his Son, the Great High Priest. This Priest, Christ, offers himself as the perfect sacrifice of praise that is the necessary expiation for our sins. Christ was tested through what he suffered and, we too share in this testing. Because Christ was tested and remained faithful, we too can hope for ultimate victory and complete vindication. Death where is your sting? The sting of sin is death, but thanks be to God through our Great High Priest, Jesus Christ; we have forgiveness of our sins and the healing of our body, minds and sprits! This is the Good News that fills the Letter to the Hebrews. This is the Good News that the decedents of Abraham and Jacob cannot not share to the ends of the earth. This is how we come to share in the blessings of the Kingdom, already here and yet to come.
The Lord Jesus did not stay in one place. He did not get stuck on success. The Christ did not hesitate to heal Simon’s mother-in-law. The Christ did not hesitate to heal all who were ill or possessed by demons. The Christ did not hesitate to rise early before dawn and find a place for solitude with the Father. After his prayerful union with the Father, the Lord Jesus did not hesitate to move on to other nearby villages to preach and heal. This he knew was his purpose. Indeed his target audience was the whole of Galilee. The Lord Jesus listened and obeyed without hesitation. He listened to the needs of the sick and those possessed by demons. He listened to the voice of his Father. To both human need and divine plan the Lord was open and responsive, immediately responsive. This is the quality of prayer that will enable us to grow in our prophetic identity. Without this kind of active listening and immediate response there is little authenticity. Without this kind of growth in holiness we share little in the saving mission of the Lord Christ.