Wednesday after Epiphany
(I John 4:11-18; Mark 6:45-52)
For the nine days before Christmas many Mexican households conduct posadas. This tradition is situated in the gospel verse where Mary lays Jesus in a manger because there was no room for her and Joseph in the inn. Posada means inn. In the dramatization of the verse, Mary and Joseph are petitioning the innkeeper to give them lodging. At first, the innkeeper rudely tells them to get out because there is no vacancy. But when they ask again, he recognizes Mary as the Virgin Mother and warmly welcomes the family into his inn. We should be able to recognize a similar drama taking place in the readings today and yesterday.
In the gospel passages for these two days, Jesus shows himself to be the Son of God. Only a divine person could feed thousands with a few loaves of bread and some fish. Likewise, only a godlike person could walk on water. Despite Jesus’ transparency on these occasions, his disciples remain clueless about his identity. As is said today, “they were completely astounded…” and “their hearts were hardened...” If they could have figured out who Jesus is, their worries would be ended. They would feel no fear. Rather they would realize that they have been embraced by love. As the first reading states, “…love drives out fear.”
First, then we should recognize that we are loved by God -- completely and unconditionally. Since we can choose to deny this love so that we do not feel it in our hearts, we must open ourselves to it. Surely for the vast majority of us, this is not a demanding task. We are blessed by the people and the opportunities that abound in our lives. God’s love, for the majority at least, is hardly more difficult to see than the rising sun.