We are just rushing along here in Mark these last three days. On Thursday Jesus declares all foods clean to eat. Yesterday Jesus heals a non-Israelite's daughter and heals a blind and mute individual. Today he feeds 4000 people. The declaring of all foods as ritually clean is one of those confusing things in our Scripture. For in Acts, and a few of Paul's letters, this argument continued with visions and inspirations for both Peter and Paul. If Jesus had already done this, why were his followers so thick as to have to reargue and re-discover the point? Perhaps this is symbolic of our having to learn and relearn and than learn again these simple (and hard to accomplish) life lessons of how we are to act in the world as Christ's Body.
The two healing stories yesterday are counter-balanced one against the other. First Jesus is quite rude to the woman seeking to have her daughter's health restored and than he is quite readily generous healing the deaf/mute individual. I cannot help but wonder if Jesus, being perhaps a bit cranky when the woman found him, got snappy with her and then, when she brought him up short for his rudeness, had a light turn on in his head about the scope of his ministry. We are witnessing in these two stories the expansion of Jesus' mission: a widening understanding of God's intended purpose.
And Jesus' care of the 4000 folks who had been with him out in the desert for three days, shows a compassionate and welcoming God. One who feeds and cares for those who come a-calling.
The juggernaut that is this Gospel of Mark is going along at a clip that is breath-taking. Our job is to see the larger picture at the same time as we study and contemplate and absorb the minutiae of Jesus' actions. We are called to mimic those things as best we can so we can move forward in the further establishment of the Jesus' Kingdom he opened for all us. We are called to be our own juggernaut of declarations and healings and compassionate and radical welcome.
Copyright 2011, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: St. Anthony Falls, Minneapolis. MN, 2011