Thursday - Ordinary Time
1) Opening prayer
Father of heaven and earth,
hear our prayers,
and show us the way to your peace in the
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
2) Gospel Reading - Mark 3,7-12
with his disciples to the lakeside, and great crowds from Galilee followed him.
From Judaea, and from Jerusalem, and from Idumaea and Transjordan and the
region of Tyre and Sidon, great numbers who had heard of all he was doing came
And he asked
his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, to keep him
from being crushed. For he had cured so many that all who were afflicted in any
way were crowding forward to touch him.
And the unclean
spirits, whenever they saw him, would fall down before him and shout, 'You are
the Son of God!' But he warned them strongly not to make him known.
• The conclusion reached at the end of this fifth
conflict (Ml 2, to 3, 6), is that the Good News as it was announced by Jesus, said
exactly the contrary of the teaching of the religious authority of the time. This
is why, that at the end of the last conflict, it is foreseen that Jesus will
not have an easy life and will be put to death. Death is already appearing in
the horizon. They decide to make him die (Mk 3, 6). Without a sincere
conversion it is not possible for persons to attain a correct understanding of
the Good News.
• A summary of the
evangelizing action of Jesus. The
verses of today’s Gospel (Mk 3, 7-12) are a summary of the activity of Jesus
and they stress an enormous contrast. Earlier, in Mk 2, 1 to 3,6, it was spoken
only of conflicts, including the conflict of the life and death between Jesus
and the civil and religious authority of Galilee (Mk 3, 1-6). And here, in the
summary, we have the contrary: an immense popular movement, greater than the
movement of John the Baptist, because people come not only from Galilee, but
also from Judaea, from Jerusalem, from Idumaea, from Transjordan, and even from
the pagan region of Tyre and Sidon to encounter Jesus! (Mk 3, 7-12). All want to
see him and to touch him. The people are so numerous, that Jesus himself is
concerned. There is the danger of being crushed by the multitude. This is why
he asks the disciples to have a boat ready for him so that the crowd would not crush
him. And from the boat he spoke to the crowds. There were especially the
excluded and the marginalized who came to him with their ailments: the sick and
those possessed. Those who were not accepted to live in the society of the time
were accepted by Jesus. Here is the contrast: on the one side the religious and
civil leaders decided to put Jesus to death (Mk 3, 6); on the other side, an
immense popular movement seeking salvation in Jesus. Who will win?
• The unclean
spirits and Jesus. Mark insists
very much on the expulsion of the unclean spirits. The first miracle of Jesus
is the expulsion of the unclean spirits (Mk 1, 25). The first impact caused by
Jesus is due to the expulsion of the devil (Mk 1, 27). One of the principal
causes of the clash of Jesus with the Scribes is the expulsion of the unclean
spirits. (Mk 3, 22). The first power which the Apostles received when they were
sent out on mission was the power to expel the demons (Mk 16, 17). What
does it mean in Mark’s Gospel to drive out or expel the evil spirits?
• At the time of Mark the fear of the devil was
increasing. Some religions instead of liberating the people, increased fear and
anguish. One of the objectives of the Good News of Jesus is precisely to help
people to liberate themselves from this fear. The coming of the Kingdom means
the coming of a stronger power. Jesus is “the stronger man” who has come
to conquer and overcome Satan, the power of evil, and to take way from him, to
rob humanity imprisoned by fear (Mk 3, 27). This is why Mark insists very much
on the victory of Jesus over the power of evil, over the devil, over Satan, sin
and death. From the beginning to the end, with almost similar words, he repeats
the same message: “And Jesus drove out, expelled the impure spirits!” (Mk 1,
220.127.116.11; 3, 11-18.104.22.168: 5, 1-20; 6, 7.13; 7, 25-29; 9,25-27.38; 16,
9.17). It seems almost a refrain which is repeated! Today, instead of using
always the same words, we prefer to use diverse words. We would say: “The power
of evil, Satan, which causes so much fear to people, Jesus overcomes him,
dominates him, conquers him, threw him off the throne, drove him out or
expelled him, eliminated him, annihilated him, knocked him down, destroyed him
and killed him!” What Mark wants to tell us is the following: “Christians are
forbidden to be afraid of Satan!” After Jesus rose from the dead, it is a mania
and a lack of faith to call in cause Satan, at every moment, as if he still had
any power on us. To insist on the danger of the devil in order that people may
return to Church, means to ignore the Good News of the Kingdom. It is a lack of
faith in the Resurrection of Jesus!
4) Personal questions
• How do you live your faith in the Resurrection
of Jesus? Does it help in some way to help you overcome fear?
• To drive away or expel the devil! What do you do
in order to neutralize this power in your life?
5) Concluding prayer
Joy and happiness in you to all who seek
Let them ceaselessly cry, 'Great is Yahweh'
who love your saving power. (Ps 40)