Thursday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time
(I Samuel 18:6-9.19:1-7; Mark 3:7-12)
Jesus keeping his divine origin hidden has been called the “Messianic secret.” Demons know of it because they have supernatural knowledge. Humans, in Mark’s gospel, have to figure it out by attention to development. Peter will reach the conclusion first by Jesus’ works and teachings. The Roman centurion will come to the same insight after seeing Jesus valiantly suffer and die.
The first reading gives a partial motive for Jesus’ keeping secret his identity. The people exaggerate David’s accomplishments to make him sound superior to King Saul. Just so, the people of Jesus’s day would see him as a political leader with potential to overthrow Roman rule. More than this, however, Jesus has important work to do. If people see him as a political Messiah, his message work would be attenuated. Jesus has come to call attention to God’s love self-evident in creation and in loving relationships. To experience fully this love, he preaches the need for people to let go of pride and covetousness.
It is a hard lesson to drive home. Especially when people have been severely abused, appreciating God’s love is difficult. Striving to build up the self with acquisitions becomes paramount to such people. We must help them to find God’s love by acts of compassion.