A reading from the gospel according to Mark 3:7-12:
7 Jesus withdrew toward the sea with his disciples. A large number of people followed from Galilee and from Judea.
8 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.
9 He told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, so that they would not crush him.
10 He had cured many and, as a result, those who had diseases were pressing upon him to touch him.
11 And whenever unclean spirits saw him they would fall down before him
and shout, “You are the Son of God.”
12 He warned them sternly not to make him known.
Reflection: Following Jesus
Jesus was still at the onset of His public ministry but His popularity has already spread far and wide. His miraculous powers and authoritative teachings did much to amaze people everywhere. In today’s parlance, He has achieved celebrity status. And so, wherever He went, a large crowd followed Him. Our gospel reading above says there was even a danger of pandemonium, that the people might crush Him.
During His time, there were no professional doctors yet and even the educated people generally lack knowledge in medicine or in science. It was a very difficult time to get sick. Then here comes a powerful healer. It is but natural that anyone with illness will jump at any opportunity to meet this man of God in the hope of getting healed. And Jesus did not disappoint for He cured many of them.
Now who would not follow such a “celebrity”? Yet Jesus was not a celebrity but the Son of God as those possessed with unclean spirits recognized Him as such. We wonder how many of those in the crowd also recognized Jesus as the Son of God. We can safely assume that many of them were following Jesus out of curiosity and of course included in their group were the religious authorities who already started to plot His downfall.
At this point, we ask. In our time, how many people have the enthusiasm or even the curiosity to follow Jesus? The people during His time were privileged because they can see Jesus in person, hear his voice, touch Him, and experience miracle. Yet those who believe in Him now when they cannot see Him physically are more blessed because He said it so in John 20:29. How wonderful it is to follow and worship Him in spirit and in truth.