The Good News Which Attracts

• The text of today’s Gospel is the final part of the whole passage of Mark 6,45-56 which presents three different themes: a) Jesus goes to the mountain alone to pray (Mk 6, 45-46). b) Immediately after, he walks on the water, goes toward the disciples who are struggling against the waves of the sea (Mk 6, 47-52). 3) Now, in today’s Gospel, when they were already on the shore, the people look for Jesus so that he can cure their sick (Mk 6, 53-56).
• Mark 6, 53-56. The search of the people. “At that time, Jesus and his disciples having made the crossing, they came to land at Gennesaret. When they disembarked, the people at once recognized him”. The people were numerous looking for Jesus. They came from all parts, bringing their sick. The enthusiasm of the people who look for Jesus and recognizing him follow him is surprising. What impels people to search for Jesus is not only the desire to encounter him, to be with him, but rather the desire to be cured of the sicknesses. “And hurrying all through the countryside they brought the sick on stretchers to wherever they heard he went.
And wherever he went to village or town or farm, they laid down the sick in the open spaces, begging him to let them touch even the fringe of his cloak, and all those who touched him were saved”. The Gospel of Matthew comments and enlightens this fact quoting the figure of the Servant of Yahweh, of whom Isaiah says: “Yet ours were the sufferings he was bearing, ours the sorrows he was carrying”. (Is 53, 4 and Mt 8, 16-17)
• To teach and to cure, to cure and to teach. Right from the beginning of his apostolic activity, Jesus goes through all the villages of Galilee, to speak to the people about the imminent coming of the Kingdom of God (Mk 1, 14-15). There, wherever he finds people to listen to him, he speaks and transmits the Good News of God, he accepts the sick, in all places: in the Synagogues during the celebration of the Word, on Saturday (Mk 1, 21; 3, 1; 6, 2); in the informal meetings in the house of friends (Mk 2, 1.15; 7, 17; 9, 28; 10, 10); walking on the street with the disciples (Mk 2, 23); along the beach, sitting in a boat (Mk 4, 1); in the desert where he took refuge and where people looked for him (Mk 1, 45; 6, 32-34); on the mountain from where he proclaimed the Beatitudes (Mt 5, 1); in the squares of the villages and of the cities, where the people took their sick (Mk 6, 55-56); in the Temple of Jerusalem, on the occasion of pilgrimages, every day without fear (Mk 14, 49)! To cure and to teach, to teach and to cure that is what Jesus did the most (Mk 2, 13; 4, 1-2; 6, 34). This is what he used to do (Mk 10, 1). The people were amazed (Mk 12, 37; 1, 22.27; 11, 18) and they looked for him, as a crowd.
• In the origin of this great enthusiasm of the people was, on the one hand, the person of Jesus who called and attracted and, on the other side, the abandonment in which people lived, they were like sheep without a shepherd (cf. Mk 6,34). In Jesus, everything was revelation of what impelled him from within! He not only spoke of God, but he also revealed him. He communicated something of what he himself lived and experienced. He not only announced the Good News. He himself was a proof, a living witness of the Kingdom. In him was manifested what happens when a human being allows God to reign in his life. What has value, what is important, is not only the words, but also and above all the witness, the concrete gesture. This is the Good News which attracts!

This homily is an excerpt from a larger reflection produced by the Carmelites.