Scripture: Lectionary 314. I Samuel 18:6-9.10-12.13-14. Mark 3: 7-12
After the five episodes of controversy, Mark now leads us through a transitional summary in his narrative. The negative reactions in chapter two are now taking a turn for a number of verses in chapter three. People are eager to follow Jesus and to experience his teaching and preaching as well as to hope for healing if they are ill. Even the unclean spirits are aware that Jesus is beyond the natural qualities that humans have. The demons realize there is something supernatural about him and cry out, “You are the Son of God.” We have experienced Jesus as the Son of Man, now instances of his being the Son of God are emerging. These are the two predominant titles in Mark’s Gospel and they express his Christology rather clearly and dramatically.
Jesus first moves away from the crowds, but they follow him to the shore. There he gets into a boat in order to be heard and seen by all. Probably, the surrounding mountains on the east help the people to hear him. The summary helps us to understand that most people were eager to touch Jesus and to hear him. The religious minded were not that positive about his words and actions as we have seen throughout chapter two.
By mentioning the areas and districts that come to find Jesus, we see that his fame is spreading and people are interested in knowing him more and more. There is a universalism here in Mark in mentioning the different locations in and outside of Galilee.
This scene is somewhat parallel to the story told in Samuel today about Saul’s jealousy of the success of David after his battle with Goliath and his continued success over them in wars common to them at this time in their history. The narrative leads us to see the influence that Jonathan works in favor of David. He convinces Saul that David is a good soldier who is faithful to the king. There is no need to kill him. Saul responds with the promise, “As the Lord lives, he shall not be killed.” Like David who enjoys a bit of peace and respite from the anger of Saul, Jesus, too, is respected by the crowds of people following him. Jonathan is building up one of the most beautiful friendships in the Bible in his relationship and concern about David.
St. Thomas has a powerful expression about goodness. He says, Bonum diffusivum sibi. This means that goodness spreads itself absolutely and permeates all things in itself. Jesus and Jonathan and David are examples of this principle of one of the greatest minds. Amen.