February 4, 2024
Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)
Readings for Today
When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons. The whole town was gathered at the door. He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak because they knew him. Mark 1:32–34
Jesus was in the home of Simon Peter whose mother-in-law He had just cured. “The whole town gathered at the door” when evening came. This was Jesus’ first time being in Capernaum after beginning His public ministry, and already people were flocking to Him in droves. The next morning, Jesus got up before dawn and went away alone to pray. Soon, some of the disciples found Him and told Him that, once again, the whole town was looking for Him.
The excitement was great. So many were amazed. And their amazement at Jesus was not simply a form of curiosity. It was an amazement fueled by faith, which is why Jesus was able to perform so many miracles there. The people quickly realized that Jesus was the One of Whom the prophets of old had spoken. He was the Messiah, and the people gave Him their full attention.
This is a good image for us to ponder. As you think of the crowds and their unwavering desire to be near our Lord, consider your own desires pertaining to God. Do you regularly find yourself consumed with a desire to find our Lord, to be with Him, to listen to Him and to receive His grace and mercy? Or are you tempted to see Jesus and the practice of your faith as boring and uninteresting? One of the unfortunate effects of modern technology is that we easily become fascinated by and intrigued with many superficial things. Perhaps it’s the latest short video on a mobile app, or the latest episode of a favorite television series, or a new post by a friend on social media. There are many things today that compete for our attention, intrigue us and even amaze us. Is Jesus one of those things in your life?
In our modern world of constant stimulation and entertainment, we need to understand the difference between being amazed at the latest pop trend and being amazed by the grace and divine actions of our Lord. When we come face-to-face with the power of God in our lives, we will be amazed in a way that fulfills and satisfies us on the deepest level. It will be a spiritual amazement, which is a gift of the Holy Spirit. And the satisfaction we receive from this form of amazement is transforming, deep and sustaining. But when we turn to lesser and more sensory “amazements” common within our world today, we will find that they last only for a moment, and we are quickly left dry and wanting for more.
Reflect, today, upon the people in today’s Gospel who were so enthralled by Jesus that they continually sought Him out. Consider their excitement, their hope and their genuine joy at their discovery of the Messiah. As you think about them, consider whether you share in their excitement about Jesus. If that excitement is lacking, recommit yourself to seeking out our Lord. And where you see that excitement present, rejoice and give glory to God.
Most glorious Lord, Your love and mercy are truly amazing. Please help me to continually see this in my life and to continually become enthralled by Your presence in my life. May I run to You always, giving You my full attention and love. Jesus, I trust in You.
Books for Lent: