Our dear friend, Fr. Ryan Humphries, joins us this week. Fr. Ryan is a priest of the Diocese of Alexandria, currently serving the people of St. Edward’s parish in Tallulah. You can also find Fr. Ryan with the team over at The Catholic Underground. Join them weekly starting back in August for the gospel, the geekery, and the shenanigans. We welcome Father to the Mission.
In the middle of Mark 5, Jesus finds himself surrounded by a bawdy crowd. In the midst of that chaos, a woman reaches out to Him for healing… and she finds it. Just before this, Jesus is in the area of Gerasesnes. The man He meets is possessed and has taken to living among the tombs. Jesus heals him, too. The last of the stories which St. Mark recounts in chapter 5 takes place in the midst of what St. Mark calls a θόρυβον – a commotion, a tumult, an uproar, chaos. The folks are sure that a little girl is dead, at least until Jesus gets into the whole situation.
It’s no accident that these stories begin where they do… The person whose life is calm, cool, and collected doesn’t need to ask God for peace. The person whose mental and physical health is 100% doesn’t need to ask God for healing. The person whose soul is pure as a baby’s eyes doesn’t need to ask God for holiness. But the rest of us are a different story – we need.
We may not live among literal tombs. But all of us, I would imagine, bear the burdens of life in one way or another. We have difficult people in our lives. We have challenges in our work and our families. Our bodies and our minds long for peace and healing.
We may not be literally surrounded by a bawdy crowd or in the midst of a commotion at this moment. But all of us know the uproar and chaos which our world imposes on us. We know how hard it is to reach out for Jesus when we are sure that this or that situation is hopeless.
All three of these stories reinforce the same lesson: no matter what our circumstances are – possession, sickness, even death – Jesus is bigger! Jesus is Lord of whatever the world throws at Him, and so Jesus is Lord of whatever the world throws at us. All we have to do is reach out… It doesn’t matter how loud the crowd is or how lonely the tombs seem – we have to reach out in trust. Then, and only then, does Jesus get to it. And, once He gets into it… well, read the book!