Monday, January 11, 2016

Even the Demons believe, and tremble.

In yesterday's post I talked a little bit about what it means to be in Ordinary time.  I mentioned  Ordinary Time was not a plain, boring time of emptiness just waiting for another Holiday or penitential season to come along. Rather, it is an ordered time, a time in which we bring ourselves into order with God himself through Christ, the fullness of his revelation.   Which means we need to pay particular attention to what the Church is showing us in each of the daily readings, in light of the Sunday Gospels surrounding them.

Tomorrow's reading begins with a typical day in the life of Christ.  It seems rather simple indeed for us who have been hearing about Jesus for the majority of our lives.  When we take a closer look though we see some very interesting things.  Last Sunday we celebrated the Baptism of Jesus Christ.   Mark has this as the focal point, the beginning of Jesus public ministry.  What he was doing before this we can only speculate.  The last time we have heard about him in the Sacred Scriptures he was lost in the temple at the age of twelve.  Now here he is, thirty years old, and beginning to teach publically.

Next Sunday we will see the wedding of Cana.  Another major event, in which we see the first real miracle occur in his ministry, being given at the request of the Virgin Mother, Mary.  In between these we find Mark leading us to a fuller understanding of who Jesus is.   Mark is bringing our time into order, systemically showing us who he believes Jesus to be.  That is the point of his gospel.  As we go through Ordinary time then, we aren't just sitting back and waiting, hearing quaint stories.. we are having an unfolding, an opening of understanding into the Mystery of the Incarnation of Christ.

Today, we see Jesus calling his disciples.  They leave immediately and begin to follow him.  That unveils Jesus as a teacher, as a Rabbi.   He is also apparently very charismatic for someone to give up their livelihood to immediately go and learn at his feet.  Then today we see him entering the synagogue and teaching.  He is also casting out demons.   Both of these are things which were already being done.  Teachers of the Law, both Scribes and Pharisees, already taught in the synagogues.  There were already exorcists in the temple.  There was something different about this Jesus though.  He didn't call on the authority of other teachers or writers, he didn't call on the name of another exorcists, he taught of his own authority and cast out demons of his own power. 

Mark is leading us further into the story.  He is drawing us closer to Easter.  He is saying, This Jesus was something more.   He wasn't your run of the mill Rabbi... rather there was something special.  Something different about him. In fact, in the very exorcism itself we see a name called out.  The demon said, "I know who you are, the Holy One of God."  We are beginning to see Jesus as God's anointed, as the one consecrated to God to lead his people out of bondage of sin and through the desert into the land God has promised.  We see the close of this Gospel showing Jesus fame spreading throughout the surrounding region.  This fame becomes a hindrance later as we see the Pharisees plotting to get rid of him because too many are beginning to follow him.

Isn't that what Epiphany was all about, right?  The revelation of who Jesus Christ is.  Something important to remember is Epiphany sets the tone of our year, it's not just a single event, but a reminder.   It is a reminder.  God has revealed himself fully to mankind through this God-man, Jesus Christ.  We continue to experience and unfolding of this divine manifestation throughout the year, growing ever more in faith, understanding, and hope.   So let's pay attention to the next few weeks, carefully asking ourselves, how does this next reading further reveal God to me?  And, how can that revelation and apply to my own life?

His servant and yours,

"He must increase, I must decrease."