Matters of the heart – Friday, 1st week in ordinary time – Mk 2:1-12
The Gospel of today is the first of five controversial stories in the Gospel of Mark (2:1-3:6). There is a growing opposition to Jesus from different religious groups and ironically, the opposition begins as early as chapter two of the Gospel.
So was it merely jealousy that led the opposition against Jesus? There was no doubt that this new itinerant rabbi on the block was making waves. We are told in chapter one that, “the whole city had gathered around him in Capernaum,” and that by the time He had healed the leper, it was impossible for Him to even walk through town.
So to answer the question- yes, it is highly probable that jealousy had set in. But there is more to it than meets the eye. In the miracle story narrated today, Jesus confronts His opponents with the words, “why do you raise such questions in your hearts?” There were no words of anger or opposition spoken against Jesus, but He senses (as He does with us) what happens in our heart.
The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart. This becomes all too evident as chapter two unfolds. These unspoken words become angry questions (verse 16) and by the time we reach chapter three verse six, words have now culminated into a deathly plot, for we are told that, “the Pharisees went out and immediately conspired with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.”
In all of this I seem to have left out the story of love at hand, the miracle of “some people,” four of whom lowered a paralyzed man and placed him before Jesus. Actually, I have not! There is a purpose in structuring this reflection in the way I have, and that is simply to make a point. When hate gets in the way, love is obscured.
The scribes could not see the actions of these “some people.” We don’t know if these “some people” were even friends of the paralytic, or merely people who got swept away by the moment. The scribes could not rejoice for a man who could not walk and now could pick up his mat and walk right out. The scribes could only hear words that did not fit in their scriptures which now sounded alien to them. It seems like the long years that they spent searching the scriptures had now failed them, especially when it came to the moment to look into the hearts of others.
For it is in THEIR hearts that questions of hate were allowed to be sowed. Check your heart today.
Fr Warner D’Souza
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