For the second time, St. Mark’s Gospel tells us that the unclean spirits knew and proclaimed who Jesus was. In chapter one while Jesus was teaching in the synagogue, the unclean spirit cried out: “I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” Today, while Jesus is at the shore of the Sea of Galilee, an unclean spirit shouted: “You are the Son of God.”
How is it that those who know evil know him while those who presume that they are religious do not know who he is or recognize his holiness? Does being self-righteous and hard of heart, of having an inflated opinion of themselves and distancing themselves from those they call sinners blind them to goodness? Yesterday’s Gospel passage told us that the Pharisees began plotting with the Herodians to put Jesus to death. They are so blind to the truth of who Jesus is that they join with their enemies to plot his death.
Is it any wonder that Jesus literally walks away from them and towards those who know their sin and their need for conversion? This is precisely the difference between those who have accepted Jesus and those who reject him – knowing the need to change, to turn away from sin.
Jesus is no longer walking in our midst. He has returned to the Father. The author of the Letter to the Hebrews tells us that he no longer has a need to offer sacrifice for our sins, having done that once for all. However, he continues to make intercession for us with the Father as he sits at the right hand of the throne of God. Though he is now physically separated from sinners, he continues to bring healing and mercy to those of us who know our need for him.
Each time we offer the Eucharist, we renew the sacrifice of the cross so that we can participate in the saving effects of his blood, shed for all sinners throughout all of history.
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator