Memorial of Saint Scholastica, virgin
(I Kings 8:1-7.9-13; Mark 6:53-56)
One noted literary critic considered Wallace Stevens the best American poet of his generation. But Stevens hardly appeared to be a poet to most of the people in his daily life. He lived in Hartford, Connecticut, where, like many, Stevens worked for an insurance company. Even after being awarded a Pulitzer Prize and offered a faculty position at Harvard University, Stevens chose to remain in Hartford as an insurance executive. As much as Stevens wanted to hide the identity that has made him famous, he appears like Jesus in the Gospel of Mark.
In today’s passage people come to Jesus looking to be cured of their illnesses. The text indicates that none were disappointed. But, of course, Jesus’ benefit only begins with physical healing. He comes to save them from the folly of sin. He not only teaches them by thought and deed, but in confronting and defeating the triumvirate of sin – Jewish pride, Roman cruelty, his follower’s cowardice – Jesus has won for those who believe in him freedom from the effects of sin.
We too often look to Jesus to help us in our need. We ask him to cure our illnesses and to assist us in the turmoil of life. Like a true friend, he helps us in these situations. But even when we cannot feel his hand on our shoulder guiding us, we know that he is there taking us beyond the limitations of our sin into the realm of his eternal love.