Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lakeside, and great crowds from Galilee followed him. From Judaea, Jerusalem, Idumaea, Transjordania and the region of Tyre and Sidon, great numbers who had heard of all he was doing came to him. 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. (Mark 3:7-12)
Can you consider a chaotic situation you’ve experienced or seen? Times of public protest turning into riots. The bad old days of hooliganism on the terraces. A late night, drunken fight in the streets. Bullets shot into the crowd of a generation seeking freedom and democracy. Scenes which are frightening and deadly. It’s from a frenzied crowd scene that Jesus makes a getaway as they gather around him in desperation to be relieved from their suffering. Jesus is far from a simple ‘miracle worker’ strutting his stuff to entertain and receive accolade and admiration. On many occasions, when he heals, he tells people not to tell anyone. The miracles he performs are signs that the Kingdom of God is in our midst. He heals because he cares, and the signs he shares are meant to draw people closer to God, to believe in the One he has sent. Whilst people flock to him in great numbers as their last hope, their only hope, he slips away by boat. He isn’t escaping from their need or ignoring their pain. All who are involved in caring and consoling, in helping and healing need also to extend the same care to themselves. We can stand outside the chaos at times in order to gain a fresh perspective and to be more ready to speak peace to violence, and healing to pain.
God our Father, as we reach out to those in need and give of ourselves, help us also to care for ourselves so that, having known your peace, we may bring your peace to others Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.