Gospel: Mark 3:7-12
Jesus and his disciples withdrew to the lakeside, and a large crowd from Galilee followed him. A great number of people also came from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, Transjordan, and from the region of Tyre and Sidon, for they had heard of all that he was doing. Because of the crowd, Jesus told his disciples to have a boat ready for him, to prevent the people from crushing him. He healed so many, that all who had diseases kept pressing toward him to touch him. Even the people who had evil spirits, whenever they saw him, they would fall down before him and cry out, “You are the Son of God.” But he warned them sternly not to tell anyone who he was.
“You are the Son of God.”
Jesus is beset by such a crowd of people—many of them sick and possessed—that it seems as if he would be crushed by them. The crowd becomes so great that he has to escape to a boat and pull out from the shore. Dorothy Day, an American Catholic who has been proposed for canonization, spent her life living among the poor in the slums of New York. In her “house of hospitality,” she practiced the works of mercy, feeding the hungry and sheltering the homeless. She did not romanticize this life among “the insulted and injured.” Surrounded by the sights and smells of poverty, including drunkenness, mental illness, and constant demands on her time and attention, she sometimes experienced the temptation to flee. “Lord, there are too many of them!” Yet she found in prayer an oasis of recollection, and was able to return, restored to her mission. Jesus himself needed time away from the relentless needs of the thronging crowd. He was after all, a human being. Yet he set no boundaries or limits on his compassion. This was his mission. For that he came.
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