A Multitude at the Lakeside
Jesus departed with his disciples to the lake, and a great multitude from Galilee followed him; hearing all that he was doing, they came to him in great numbers from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, beyond the Jordan, and the region around 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; for he had cured many, so that all who had diseases pressed upon him to touch him. Whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and shouted, ‘You are the Son of God!’ But he sternly ordered them not to make him known.
· Since his election as Pope in March 2013 Pope Francis has made a huge impact & was named ‘Man of the Year’ by Time Magazine in 2013.
He chose his papal name due to the humility and austerity associated with St. Francis of Assisi, whose example he has followed. He has an ability to communicate in a way which people can understand, and he has a common touch. He has shunned living in the papal apartments, living in stead in the much simpler papal guestrooms. He is a man of modesty & humility.
He made headlines when he embraced & blessed a man covered in tumours, and has washed the feet of juvenile delinquents, and the feet of a Muslim woman.
Last week over 6 to 7 million people attended a mass conducted by the Pope in the Philippines – the largest papal mass in history.
But if you asked the people in the crowd what drew them to see Pope Francis, they probably would have given you different answers.
In our Gospel reading we see too how Jesus drew vast crowds, described as a great multitude, from a vast region, with people presumably travelling many days to reach Jesus.
So great was this crowd that Mark tells us that Jesus ordered the disciples to get a boat ready, so that he would not be crushed by the sheer size and volume of the crowds that surrounded him.
Imagine the scene for a moment….
What was it that drew people to Jesus?
Some people would have come because they were curious, others because they sought healing, some to hear Jesus speak, some to know if he truly was the Messiah, and maybe others who wanted to find evidence to use against him.
What about you? What draws you to Jesus? What is your primary reason for following Jesus?
As we consider how people were drawn to Jesus, what do they see of him in our lives today? What do they see of Jesus in the church today?
I think one of the reasons people have responded so positively to Pope Francis, is they can see something of Christ in him. What impact would it have if people could see more of Christ in us, and in the church?