10B – 10 Jun 2018

Strong friends

Message by: Fr Richard M Healey

You know that things are not going well when everyone is so busy and that so many people gathered that Jesus and his disciples could not find time to eat. But perhaps it is a bit of a stretch to jump to the conclusion that the wider family of Jesus does – ‘he’s out of his mind!’ Mind you, Jesus is acting against all that common social wisdom suggests – then and now. He had thrown away his security of a decent job, his safety of having a house over his head, and he didn’t seem that concerned about what the crowd thinks of him. The writer H. G. Wells said, for most people ‘the voice of their neighbours is louder than the voice of God.’ So, all up, you can see why the people he grew up with might declare him mad. It is even more of a stretch and lacking in logic to claim that he has power to cast out demons because he is in league with Satan. Jesus is swift yet calm in rebutting this claim.

Jesus is the strong man, and he knows that his victory over both disease and sin (which includes his victory over every power of darkness, including Satan) is a sure sign that the kingdom of God was breaking into our world through him. Jesus desires and has the authority to heal both bodies and souls and he will do both. But there is one essential requirement – we must desire to be healed. If we refuse to allow God to have mercy on us, then we commit a sin against the spirit of God. It is not a specific terrible sin, but a closing of our hearts to God, that makes this sin unforgivable.

Jesus also reminds us that true kinship is so much more than only flesh and blood. True friendship requires two people to be able to share so much together that they can both share common memories and share the common experience of being forgiven and healed. Disciples share the desire to know and love Jesus and the desire to share this with others.

+ Lord Jesus, you are the strong one, who has come vulnerably into our lives as a strong friend, inviting us into deep friendship and life with you in your word. Amen.

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