When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored the boat. When they got out of the boat, people at once recognized him, and rushed about that whole region and began to bring the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he went, into villages or cities or farms, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed.
In today’s Gospel, wherever Jesus goes, people approach him with their needs. The last line from Mark is telling: “…and all who touched [Jesus’ cloak] were healed.” Jesus offered his healing without judgement or even inquiry. In other words, there was no litmus test for Jesus’ choice to care for those who were struggling. How refreshing!
Throughout the Gospels Jesus freely gives his love and healing power to sinners, to “crazy” people, to prostitutes…to anyone who needs it. Such unconditional love is inspiring. Often we find ourselves ready to love, but only those who we deem “deserving” of our love. A deeper understanding of faith invites us to transcend a merit-based understanding of love, and instead embrace an approach of abundant love. To be certain, this requires us to let go of perceived and real transgressions against us, which ultimately leads us into deeper relationship with both Christ and with the other.
—Matt Kemper is the Director of Community Service at St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati.
Lord God, St. Vincent de Paul said “we must love our neighbor as being made in the image of God and as an object of his love.” Help us to see your image in all those we encounter, without pausing to ask whether they are worthy of our love. May we recognize those we encounter as worthy of our love simply because they are loved by you.
—The Jesuit Prayer team
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