To Move towards Jesus and To Move like Jesus

January 21, 2021 – Thursday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time

Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/012121.cfm)

There are two interesting movements in the Gospel of Mark. These two movements are the invitations that I would like you today to remember. First is the movement of the people towards Jesus. Second is the movement of Jesus.

How do we deal with our stress and tensions? With the difficulties we encounter daily? Or with our own personal issues? In dealing with these, we develop coping mechanism to address our issues. They could be a healthy or an unhealthy coping. There will be occasions where we fall into unhealthy coping mechanism that may trap us from growing and becoming more mature in the way we look at ourselves, in the way we relate with others and even in the way we relate with God. What prevents us could be our stubborn heart to accept our failures and limitations. What hinders us too is our arrogance to rely on our capacities, with our achievements, with our strength and will that refuse to seek help from others or even healing from God.

Considering all these, I am reminded of today’s Gospel to always approach the Lord in humility but with confidence. This is what we have heard in the Gospel as people from all over the place came to follow Jesus. Mark tells us how the people were drawn towards Jesus. Those people took the risk that they too will see Jesus, touch Jesus and be healed by Jesus from whatever burden or suffering they were carrying.

Mark presents to us how Jesus was drawing multitude of people. This tells us indirectly how the people have recognized that Jesus has come to give them life, to give them pardon and forgiveness, to give them freedom, to seek the lost, to heal the sick, to uplift the distressed and hopeless and comfort the brokenhearted.

In Jesus, they must have saw “life.” This is the invitation for us in this first movement – and that is to be able to see life in Jesus and not in any unhealthy coping mechanism, not in arrogance, not in the stubbornness of our heart, not in self-doubt, not in complacency and self-satisfaction.

Thus, we will only be able to touch Jesus once we also take the movement in taking the risk to remain humble and to remain dependent on God. The people approached Jesus in humility and recognize their poverty and need of God. This means that I am called to recognize my own inadequacies and weaknesses, issues and areas of healing. To remain dependent on God means that I am called to completely put my trust in God’s goodness and providence, and not just on my own strength and capacity. This is the first movement and the call to move towards Jesus.

Again in the Gospel, Mark presents to us how Jesus became so popular. People heard about him and the wonders he did to many. He became “viral and sensational.” If Jesus was not conscious of his identity, he could easily manipulate the people who have come to him in order to gain praises only for himself and nothing to his Father in heaven. The popularity that he gained, the influence that he was able to build up and his power over the people were most probably also forms of temptations to him from Satan. Surely, Satan had also used these against Jesus.

However, his awareness of his identity and confidence in His Father in heaven “moved” him to be more generous to the people and more conscious of their needs. As a result, he touched others, listened to them individually and taught them effectively.

This reminds me to be always grounded and to be always aware of my own identity that I am a sinner in need of mercy, yet, chosen and loved by the Lord. This is a call then for us, not to be intoxicated with the popularity that we might have, with the affirmations and recognitions that we may gain, with the people who have come to us for help, with people who admire us. Intoxication of self-promotion, of self-entitlement, and self-gratification will only lead us to the temptation of gaining control and power that may also lead to abuses, in whatever forms that may be, and corruption.

This reminds us to be always conscious and discerning as a person. To grow in confidence with God, like Jesus, will make our heart thankful and joyful. This is indeed an invitation for us to have a heart that is simple and undefiled by any form of bitterness, insecurity, arrogance and entitlement.

To have this heart means to be able to love – a love that does not count the cost or expecting any return of investment. This love comes from the generous heart of God. Thus, the call of Jesus’ movement is a call to see God with others, with my brothers and sisters. This is the second movement and the call to move like Jesus. Hinaut pa.

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