Today's gospel story and most of the New Testament writings we see the heart of a servant in Jesus. We hear today how he spends most of the day healing the sick and they keep coming and coming until after sunset. We heard that the whole town was gathered at the door!
Jesus had to of been worn out but he kept on serving. When He awoke from sleep the next morning, but before anyone else was up, needed to get away to pray and he found a deserted place. Simon and the other disciples look for Him and on finding him essentially said; "Jesus, you've made it big. Everyone is looking for you."
It is true, particularly of youngsters, maybe 10 years old through most of the teen years that want to look good to others - what they wear, what they say, and the family car they ride in. I remember when I was in sixth grade we didn't have such a great looking car. It was an International Travelall. It was old and had a few dents in it. When my mom came to pick me and my siblings up from Catholic grade school, I always hoped she was late so the other kids would already be gone so that they did not see that battle wagon.
It really was not that bad but to a youngster in sixth grade, it was anything but cool.
At whatever age, we all want to put our best foot forward for other people, to show our good side. It plays out in different ways at different ages. But it is true of all of us, and it lasts our whole life.
It is natural enough and there is really nothing wrong with it. We want others to think of us as good company, enjoyable to be with. We want clothes that look good on us. We want others to see our strengths, the gleam of good health and the glow of talent.
We want others to know that we are good at golf, or bowling, or just good at something. We want others to think of us as bright, intelligent and clever. It is natural enough and unless it is an extreme preoccupation, there is nothing wrong with it.
Throughout Mark's gospel Jesus appears to want no one to know who he is. The demons shout out who he is and Jesus tells them to be quiet. Of course, Jesus doesn't need a recommendation from demons but it appears to be more than that.
Jesus heals people and then tells them not to tell anyone about it. Most of them go out to tell everyone they can. In today's gospel story, Jesus can stay and make a name for himself but he says that it is time to move on. Why? Jesus is a servant of God. He does not come to impress people as to what he can do or to become well known. He simply wants to proclaim the Good News and heal people.
Now, we all know that there is another side to all of us, isn't there! There is a dark side. Sounds like the star wars movies. Anyway, there is a dark side that we do not want anyone to see. We've all got weaknesses, we've all got some deep down fears. Sometimes we are not so courageous as we look. And we have made mistakes along the way.
Jesus is teaching all of us, then and now, what God is like. By reaching out to the sick Jesus is teaching us that God reaches out kindly and graciously to the parts of you and me that are weak; Those places within us that are frail, that we are not so proud of, that we don't want anyone to know about. Those are the places Jesus wants to care for.
Those are the places where Jesus wants to be with us to give us strength. Those are the places where Jesus is especially loving to us. Jesus didn't go from town to town saying, "Bring me your best and your brightest." Jesus went from town to town reaching out to the sick and the sinners.
Jesus went from town to town preaching the Good News of a God whose knows we are not perfect, that there is another side to our lives, that we are weak, that we have some bad memories, that we are sinners, and that God wants to be with us in those parts of our lives.
In our first reading we find Job. Poor Job! Here is one who has had a lifetime that was stolen from him. Everything happened to him. He lost everything he possessed. But God was there for him. Job, in all his misery, reached out to God, even during his extreme suffering, while he pours out his agony before God. And what did Job do? He never lost his sight of God.
Jesus was criticized for the kind of people he associated with. In Job's case, his friends, especially Eliphaz, thought Job brought all his suffering upon himself and it was God's way of punishing and disciplining the guilty Job. How would others think of Jesus if he befriended Job?
Do you remember Jesus' response as to why he associated with the ones he did? He said, "The healthy don't need a doctor. The sick do. I came for sinners."
We all know from the sacred writings that Jesus went around curing the sick. But we can forget why he did it. We look at the cure and not the reason for the cure, the story that surrounds it. Jesus did these cures, these miracles to teach us that he came to be with us in those parts of our lives where we don't feel so good about ourselves. He came to say, not imply, "I love you", but to say, "I love you there…in the part of our lives no one else sees. Jesus is saying "I love you, weaknesses and all."
When our faith guides our lives, we do not worry about how we look to others. We do not try and set ourselves apart from others by bringing to the forefront what good we do. We do it out of love for Jesus. Why? Take a good look.
Like St Paul said to the Corinthians, "If I preach the gospel, this is no reason for me to boast, for an obligation has been imposed on me, and woe to me if I do not preach it!" And he also said, "All this I do for the sake of the gospel, so that I too may have a share in it."
If you get a chance today, or sometime during this week, spend some time with the Lord talking about that part of you where weakness resides. Experience His healing, loving and strengthening touch. This touch is definitely in the Eucharist that most of you will receive today and if you do, spend time with Him in thanksgiving of what he has given you, Himself!
Experience firsthand, why we call the story of Jesus the "GOOD NEWS".