Monday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
To touch Jesus and the mystery of the life
After making the crossing, they came to land at Gennesaret and tied up there. As they were leaving the boat, people immediately recognized him. They scurried about the surrounding country and began to bring in the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. Whatever villages or towns or countryside he entered, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak; and as many as touched it were healed. Mk 6,53-56
The today passage is clear, if we read it in the context of the preceding events. After the multiplication of the loaves, which showed the profound humanity of Jesus, he ordered to his disciples to board the boat to reach the other shore of the lake of Tiberias, while he himself dismissed the crowd and then he climbed the mountain to pray . He wanted to move away from the thinking of the men who, after that miracle, wanted to make him a king. Jesus has removed himself from the worldly success, but the apostles did not understand, “They had not understood the incident of the loaves. On the contrary their hearts were hardened” (Mk 6,52). It is in this situation of total lack of understanding that an headwind has risen on the lake and the apostles, while doing a lot of effort, failed to advance even a meter. Jesus then went to meet them walking on the water and the apostles have mistaken him for a ghost, as they will mistake him like a ghost in the appearances after the resurrection. As long as Jesus climbed on their boat, the wind had died down and all of them quickly landed at Gennesaret, on the other side of the lake. It is after these facts in the today’s gospel that Jesus is in front of these people who, however, recognize him. The hardness of the hearts of the apostles is countered by the simple faith of the crowd which “touches” the Christ and which is saved and healed from its illnesses. The today’s gospel invites us to ponder on the meaning of that faith. If you do not “touch” the fact of the Providence which every day is activated by the compassion and the mercy of the Lord, we are only fighting against the contrary winds and waves which rise into the great sea of the life. Also the Lord which we meet in the prayer, in the Scripture and the eucharist, risks to become a ghost which we do not even attempt to touch, because we do not consider him something concrete and tangible, as on the contrary he is. For the common people, such as those who are part of this crowd, Jesus is a real person, to be touched, and to whom it is possible to present their own problems, the sins, the diseases, the messy situations and the difficulties in understanding the mystery of the life. The simple people touch the person of Jesus and penetrate more easily than the theologians the mystery which is around us.