Created in the image of God

At the end of Chapter 4 of Mark, the disciples had run into trouble on the Sea of Galilee: “A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up.” (Mark 4:37). This is another exhibit of the divine powers of Jesus that are in addition to the miracles cures and the casting out of demons. They have heard him preach about conversion and the kingdom of God – and yet still ask, “Who then is this?” (v.41).

In today’s gospel, Chapter 5 marks a change of location as Jesus moves into the Gentile territory east of the Jordan River. If the disciples are still asking themselves about the identity of Jesus, then this move will likely raise questions about the mission. If they are able to answer their own question and see Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah, will they be able to grasp that his mission is to Israel and more? Will the disciples connect the cure of the demon-crazed man in the territory of the Gerasenes, Gentile territory with Jesus’ long-term mission, which includes their participation and will move beyond the borders of Israel to the ends of the earth? Continue reading

Handing it on

This coming Sunday is the 5th Sunday of Ordinary Time in Lectionary Year C. Let’s begin with some context to help us locate this gospel narrative in the larger setting of Luke’s gospel.

For the two previous weeks in the lectionary cycle, Jesus has been in Nazareth engaging the citizens of his own hometown (4:14-30). As Jesus indicated, no prophet is accepted in his own native place (v.24). Leaving Nazareth, Jesus moved on to Capernaum. Again he amazed people while teaching in the synagogue on the Sabbath. While present, there was a man with the spirit of an unclean demon (v.33). Jesus casts the demon from the man, again amazing the people: For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.”(v.36) Also while in Capernaum, Jesus cured Simon’s mother-in-law (vv.38-39) and all manner of people sick with various diseases (v.40) and case out other demons (v.41). Continue reading