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Br. Cody Jorgensen, O.P.'s picture

The Jealousy of Numbers

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"He told his disciples to have a boat ready for him. He had cured many of them and, as a result, those who had diseases were pressing upon him to touch him" (Mk 3:9-10).

Word about Jesus spreads so quickly. How fast does the Word of God move in our lives and in our hearts! If today you knew of a man who, by merely touching him, would cure you of your most afflicted disease, would you not travel far and wide? Yet this man isn't of folklore or some newspaper headline; he is real, it is the Lord!

The crowds, the huge throng of people seeking Jesus for healing is reminiscent of the first reading. When King Saul and David walk through the cities of Israel after their victory, the people acclaim them for the thousands they have slain. Numbers. How interesting that numbers can incite jealousy within our hearts. "That other person did more than I. Is he better than me?" Were not both King Saul and David doing the will of God? I can easily count in my own experience the number of times I've been tempted to take an unholy pride in mere numbers: "Look! We had ten Baptisms at Easter Vigil this year!" Rejoicing in the work of the Lord is a beautiful thing, and yet how easily can the heart be tempted to quantify His work; tempted to think not of God's power, but of "our" work and rejoice in "our" accomplishment. It is good to rejoice, and yet how easily can we be led to jealousy!

In His mission, Jesus isn't preoccupied by a human jealousy of numbers. His mission is to do the will of the Father, a mission that because He is the Word, compels Him to preach the Gospel. Just as with King Saul, the leaders in Jerusalem will become wildly jealous because of the massive crowds that follow Jesus. Ultimately the ugliness of human jealousy will rear its head and again cry for death. Jesus however, as the Son and Word of God has the power to redeem us, to bring about the powerful manifestation of God's love in the Triumph of the Cross.

We must always seek to confirm one another in faith, and encourage each other in the work that God has given us to do in His Name. It is through the saving power of the cross that all our jealousies can be transformed. Let us be like the townspeople that heard of Jesus, Let us repent and flee to Him who has the power to save us.