Today is the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B. For the rest of this liturgical year, when you go to Mass on Sundays, begin to pay attention to the Gospel passage for each Sunday; you will realize that for most Sundays, the reading will be from the Gospel according to Mark.
There are four Evangelists: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Each of them wrote about the same Jesus Christ. However, each wrote from a particular perspective and for a specific audience. The evangelists have their individual characteristics. For example, last Sunday, I shared that Mark is the only one of the four evangelists who begins by identifying his work as Gospel.
Today, I would like to focus on another characteristic of Mark. The Gospel according to Mark is an action Gospel. Mark presents Jesus Christ as a Man of Action. In this Gospel, there is not much teaching, not much talking, between one action and another. A Greek expression in this Gospel that portrays the urgency of Jesus’s actions is kai euthys, which means “And immediately.” In chapter 1 alone, kai euthys appears eight times. So, Mark presented Jesus as one who had no time to waste. After one action, “and immediately,” he moves to another action. In Nigerian Pidgin English, we would say, for Mark Gospel, Jisos dey like persin wey im blood dey hot.
We are still in Chapter 1 of Mark’s account of the Gospel. Jesus did not appear in the scene until verse 14. In verse 15, he announced, “This is the time of fulfillment. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel.” From verses 16 to 20, he recruited his first four apostles. Today, we begin from verse 21 of Mark’s account of the Gospel where Mark tells us that the people in the Synagogue were astonished at how Jesus taught with authority. Mark did not tell us the content of Jesus’ teaching; he immediately went on to tell us how Jesus delivered the man who suffered from demonic possession. This is the first miracle Jesus performed in Mark’s account of the Gospel. Such was the life of Jesus, from one action to another. He knew why he came, and went for it without wasting time.
During his public ministry, Jesus did so many good things, but he did not heal all the sick in the world at that time; he did not feed all the hungry; he did not raise all the dead. However, all those who came in contact with him, he changed their situations for good. As Christians, our calling is to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ. There are so many problems in the world; instead of cursing the darkness, let each of us light a candle. Instead of spending so much time running commentaries on the problems of this world, we can be like Jesus by doing something about the problems, one at a time, beginning from where we are now.
Imagine how clean the earth would be if each Christian picked up a piece of trash once a day. Imagine what the environment would look like if each Christian planted one tree in a lifetime. There are so many homeless people around; at the same time, there are so many people with mansions that they do not know what to do with them. Imagine a situation where those who have homes with extra rooms pick up one homeless person. Just one at a time. Thinking about the empty pews at Mass, imagine that each Catholic invites a friend to Church by words or their way of life. Just one at a time.
Yes, Jesus did not solve all the problems of this world during his public ministry. However, he left the world better than he met it. That is the responsibility he has passed on to us. Wherever you show up as a Christian, let it be said of you that your presence brought more light and more life. Let it be said that you left the place better than you met it. And more importantly, when we leave this world, we must ensure that we leave it better than we met it.
As we reflect on Jesus, the Man of Action in the Gospel according to Mark, may God grant us the discernment to see all that we need to do, and the grace to do them until we come to our heavenly inheritance through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Homily for 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B 2024