Who is Jesus
There are times when the readings we have at Mass leave us with more questions than answers and this week might be one of those. We have to bear in mind, of course, that the Gospel of Mark is written in such a way that the readers are confronted constantly with the same question: “Who is Jesus?” A question that is not answered immediately. Only slowly, as the story unfolds, the readers can find it for themselves, in the witness of some of the characters, in the words and actions of Jesus...
But in addition to that question, which we will find throughout the whole Gospel, the passage we have this Sunday poses many more questions. For start, what was that possessed man doing in the synagogue? Why did the Scribes and Pharisees in that synagogue let him in? How could they not have recognised that he was possessed? They were leaders of the community, but they did not know how to judge between an evil spirit a good one? Or is it that they could do nothing about it? Perhaps they did not have the authority to cast that daemon out. Many questions for which Mark provides no answer. Instead he presents a person: Jesus. Unlike the Scribes and Pharisees, he can identify evil spirits and has authority to cast them out.
But, we still have to address what – to me – seems the most puzzling detail of the story. The daemon recognises Jesus as the “Holy One of God”. A pretty amazing revelation considering that this is only the beginning of the Gospel and the first time that Jesus appears in public after his baptism. But then, oddly enough, before the daemon can say any more, and probably before anyone has grasped the implications of such statement, Jesus commands it, with an authority never witnessed before, to be quiet and leave, which it does. Why? Why was Jesus not interested in the daemons revealing his true identity? A new reader of the Gospel would have to continue the story to find out. We already know the Gospel quite well, so I won’t spoil the ending. The answer is quite simple, Jesus does not want to be feared. He does not want to be watched from a distance as it happened to God in Old Testament times. He does not want any of his disciples’ faith to rely on some grandiose miracles much less on spooky stories or some paranormal experience. Instead, he wants to build a close relationship, to be known and loved. He wants them to journey with him, to be with him, to listen to his words and witness his works. After all, fear is weak and it vanishes as soon as the truth is known, but faith and love are strong and grow stronger the more we know the truth.
Who is Jesus? Mark does not give us the answer yet, but he has given us a clue: if we want to know who he is, we must leave behind all fears, dare to ask ourselves deep questions, and above all, make time to be with him.
Fr Daniel Herrero Peña
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A Prayer of to Our Blessed Lady in time of need
REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen
Pray for us O Holy Mother of God that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ, Amen.
ECUMENICAL LENT COURSE ON PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS
The Bishop of Truro’s Independent Review for the UK Foreign Secretary of Foreign and Commonwealth Office* Support for Persecuted Christians (2019) wrote, “Christianity is by most calculations the most persecuted religion of modern times. Yet Western politicians until now have been reluctant to speak out in support of Christians in peril.” We have a chance to address this together as Christians in Kensington and Chelsea"Each Wednesday evening in Lent at 7.30pm, starting on 24th February and ending on 24th March, Zoom sessions will be offered, with presenters from Aid to the Church in Need. https://acnuk.org
Each session will last one hour and end with a devotional time using Stations of the Cross as the focus for prayer for the persecuted, working through the Stations from 24th February to 24th March.
Details of the Zoom link and the content of each session will be coming soon, but in the meantime do make a diary or calendar note so that you can join these important sessions. We will learn that persecution is a phenomenon which is not 'out there' but “ in here” as we inform our minds and our prayer this Lent.
IF YOU ARE WORRIED ABOUT THE IMPACT OF CORONAVIRUS ON YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a new and uncertain time for all of us, so it is only natural that it will affect our mental health in different ways. However you are feeling right now is valid. With the right help and support, we can get through this.
Visit https://youngminds.org.uk/ for more information and material both for parents and children.
Caring for each other.
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Praying Each month with the Pope