The Pressing Crowd

jesus-sower-e-long-rtJesus withdrew toward the sea with his disciples. A large number of people followed from Galilee and from Judea. Hearing what he was doing, a large number of people came to him also from Jerusalem, from Idumea, from beyond the Jordan, and from the neighborhood of Tyre and Sidon. He told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, so that they would not crush him. He had cured many and, as a result, those who had diseases were pressing upon him to touch him. And whenever unclean spirits saw him they would fall down before him and shout, “You are the Son of God.” He warned them sternly not to make him known. (Mark 3: 7-12)

In the Gospel we see the Lord “needing to get away” from the all the people coming around him, trying to touch him. Of course, this is because Jesus had healed so many, and his fame had spread far and wide. Jesus opts for a boat to provide a place of refuge so that he is not crushed. Of course, being true God, Jesus could escape injury from the crowd through divine intervention (he had done this on another occasion) but because he is also true man, Jesus calls for the boat that will carry him and the Apostles to safety. Nonetheless, I like to think that Jesus invites, and perhaps even enjoys, the pressing of the crowds upon him. After all, that is why Our Lord came to the earth, to “…draw all men to Myself” (John 12:32).

Because we are all called to be faithful disciples, we need to consider how effective we are at getting people closer to Jesus. Is Jesus’ fame extended farther and wider because of our witness?  Recently in Mass, at the moment of distributing Holy Communion, I thought of the crowds pressing upon Jesus. May our sacramental life, especially our Eucharistic life, be a starting place where we begin to invite everyone to personally encounter the Lord!

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