Weekly Reflections: Organizing based on the Gospel of Mark (4/8)


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People in need as priority

Now, as we continue to study and analyze the organizing work and activities of Jesus, we discover in him a very sensitive and caring person who readily responds to people in need. In a number of occasions, the genuineness of his concern for people and his creative responses to their plight stand out.

In almost every situation, people in need are awaiting for opportunities by which they would be able to receive some attention and response to their needy conditions. Jesus shows that these have to be given priority. To him, the people’s welfare and well-being always come first. For him, the person is more important than law, tradition, institution, hierarchy, structure or system. As Jesus Christ our Lord said: “What does our Law allow us to do on the Sabbath: to help or to harm, to save a person’s life or to destroy it?” (Mk. 3:1-6).

Jesus’ respect for persons regardless of status is obvious even to his enemies (cf. Mk. 12:13-17). Responding to people in need is a very sensitive, demanding and challenging aspect of the whole organizing process. It is of interest and importance to look into the ways by which people are dealt with, because among the suffering people, the exploited and the impoverished, there is a broad spectrum and an almost unreachable well of expectations. These problems are plenty and varied ranging from physical needs, health and well-being, ethics and morality, economic, social and political issues; from petty and personal matters to complex and intricate questions of ultimate meaning of existence and destiny.

Mass and popular education

Now, the main thrust of Jesus’ ministry is to preach and teach people about God’s Kingdom, its values and its demands. A distinction is implied between the kind of education espoused by Jesus and that upheld by the traditional rulers of his day. This can be gleaned from how Mark noted the response of people to the teachings of Jesus: “The people who heard him were amazed at the way he taught, for he was not like the teachers of the Law; instead, he taught with authority” (Mk. 1:22).

For Jesus, to inform and educate people means reaching out to people, either in its broad sections or particular groups of them. His message has always been to reach out to everyone in order to spread the Good News. Aside from ministering to people’s general needs, Jesus Christ our Lord also caters to their particular needs.

Jesus Christ our Lord takes advantage of every opportunity to spread his teachings. He is everywhere so he can impart lessons, new attitudes and values in life. He is never confined to the four walls of buildings or structures as traditional rulers are wont to be. He goes to the villages, towns, farms and market places (cf. Mk. 6:56). He is by the lakeside or at synagogue, or in the hillside and isolated places. He visits his hometown and other territories, like temple and open fields.

His methods are as varied and creative as their occasion provides. He does not limit himself to standard classroom equipments or traditional means of instruction. He picks up resources and materials which are common, available and known to people, both young and old, whether learned or uneducated.

His resources are the means by which he sends across messages of the Kingdom of God. The eternal is seen in the material while heavenly is grasped with earthly illustrations. These take the forms of storytelling, parables, lessons and diagrams from the people’s daily rites of living.

The concrete rather than the abstract is always a guide to Jesus whenever he wants to drive home a point. For instance, once he encountered a man who ran up to him and knelt down before him. He asked Jesus a religious, spiritual question: “Good teacher, what must I do to receive eternal life?” (Mk. 10:17-23).

The man expects Jesus to answer on the same spiritual plane. But Jesus prefers to talk in concrete rather than abstract terms. He chooses to deal with tangible and realistic concerns rather than with unseen and subjective conditions. He gave the man a concrete, material response. He said, “You need only one thing. Go, sell all you have and give the money to the poor and you will have riches in heaven; then come and follow me.”

Jesus Christ our Lord is creative, resourceful and straightforward in his method of teaching. But he is also vivid in the use of examples. In illustrating his point or arguing his case, Jesus chooses common, ordinary and familiar examples which are known to his audience and in most cases are already self-explanatory.

Jesus Christ our Lord has his way of dealing with those who come to him to ask some questions. He would reply by asking one or more questions. In the process, those who ask him would appear to be answering their own questions. Such method is used by Jesus to encourage others to participate in the problem-solving process and to draw out from their own source of understanding.

In his education work, the intention of Jesus is to provide people with insights and give them an understanding of the Kingdom of God. It does not matter whether Jesus appears before an audience that is large or small, or whether he is addressing just one person. Jesus Christ our Lord is a keen listener and ready to share his perspective and perception of the various aspects and demands of God’s Kingdom.#

Continued next weeknordis.net


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