21st January 2021,
THURSDAY, SECOND WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
MEMORIAL OF SAINT AGNES, VIRGIN AND MARTYR
Heb 7: 25 – 8: 6 Ps 40: 7-10, 17 Mk 3: 7-12
ENCOUNTERING THE MESSIAH
In the first reading from the letter to the Hebrews, we hear of Jesus as the new and eternal high priest. He has offered himself as a perfect sacrifice ‘once and for all’. Jesus is always available to save those who approach God through him, since he lives forever to make intercession for them. We approach God through Jesus and are comforted by his having made perfect forgiveness possible and attainable.
The Gospel passage today tells us of the large crowds that gathered from far off places and even from the neighbouring pagan towns, mainly to be cured by Jesus. The people tried to reach out and touch him that they might be healed, so much so, that he feared he might be crushed. But we see none of these crowds at the time of his crucifixion. Their idea of the Messiah was that of a national leader; one who would lead extensive conquests and establish the Jewish kingdom like David of old. When people learnt that this man would not do it, they left. This is precisely why Jesus asked the evil spirits to be silent and not proclaim that he is the one, lest it should lead to useless upheavals and turmoil. First, he had to gradually lead the people towards a right understanding of the Messiah – one overflowing with compassion and love, one who would accomplish his mission by dying on a cross.
Even today, the person of Christ continues to have a powerful effect on the lives of so many the world over. We come to our liturgies and engage in spiritual exercises to be close to him and receive his blessing. We come especially with our afflictions to receive a hoped-for cure. Beyond our personal needs, we press close to Jesus to tell him we love him. However, in encountering the Lord, though we may often find material benefit (healing), the higher and truer gifts are spiritual and hidden.
Responsorial Psalm: See, I have come, Lord, to do your will.
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