Monday, February 7, 2011

Mark 6: 53-56

The Church teaches that we are the new Jerusalem; a shiny city on a hill.  We are God's chosen people.  With this favored status we have the promise of salvation, if we are true to the Covenant.  We are the holy ones, the saved, the redeemed, the ones who will see God face to face in the heavenly banquet. 
"Through his cross and resurrection he freed us from sin and death and called us to the glory that has made us a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people set apart."  (Preface for Sundays in Ordinary Time 1)
Gennesaret, though, seems to be a more apt description of who we are as a Church today.  Gennesaret was on the other side of the lake, near pagan territory.  It was seen as the place where demon possession was an epidemic.  It was unholy, wounded, filled with anguish and sorrow, it was a place where many sick people suffered in terrible pain.  It was a place where the saved lived side by side with the damned.  It was a place Jesus paid special attention to because they needed him to be present to them.

All he needed to do was pass by them, and if they just touched the tassle of his cloak as it whisked by them, they were healed.  But the sick, the possessed, those who suffered in sorrow and pain needed one thing: the help of those who knew Jesus would cure them.  They needed the community who believed in him to help them in their powerlessness to be in his presence.  This, to me, is the better model and understanding of what the Church is supposed to be.

Rather than seeing ourselves as the saved, the ones who've made it and are, therefore, already graced and already in the golden city of Jerusalem, we should see ourselves as the ones who are to bring the suffering, the lost, the poor, and all the others we know of who are sick in Gennesaret to the one whose presence will bring them healing and peace.  Are we willing to make such an invitation to those who need to touch him?

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