Preaching Mark

Gerald O’Collins SJ

Long live the four evangelists. The first of two articles offers suggestions for preaching the Gospels. Gerald O’Collins SJ is adjunct professor of Australia Catholic University and the author of over fifty books.

Jesus our life-giver
(Mark 3.1–6)
We might be tempted to think of this healing as only a small miracle. After all, the man with the withered hand could walk to the synagogue. He wasn’t like the paralytic, whose friends carried him to Jesus on a stretcher and then lowered him down through the roof (Mk. 2.1–12). No, the man with the withered hand walked to the synagogue where he met Jesus. Did he hope to be healed? We don’t know. All we know is that he was there at the service, and so was Jesus.

The man with the disability wasn’t like another person already cured by Jesus, the leper (Mk. 1.40–45). The leper was excluded from ordinary society, and certainly could not attend a synagogue service. He met Jesus because he went looking for him and broke the rules by coming right up to Jesus, so that he could fall at his feet and ask to be cured.

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