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Too often when I read Mark 1: 21-28, I forget about Jesus’s orientation to God’s Kingdom. Recall, after John the Baptist’s arrest, Jesus announces in Galilee that “This is the time of fulfillment. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel. (Mk 1:15)”
Jesus proclaims God’s love for all people here and now. No disclaimers. Jesus does not qualify the proclamation with a call for drug tests or walls any other of a multitude of weights that the rich and powerful load on the backs of people who have little else to sustain them in a brutal world.
The fact that Jesus performs an exorcism on the Sabbath demonstrates his orientation to live God’s love every day rather than follow a law for law’s sake. In our context of “fake news” where the powerful regularly distort the truth to maintain their own power and massage their egocentric need for attention, Jesus teaches us that the evil powers of the world do get the better of us—they do get lodged in our hearts, minds, and bodies.
People are astonished by Jesus because he keeps it real. He names evil when he sees it. He heals the wounded. It is not about him. He makes it about humbly living God’s love here and now.
Likewise, the work of living the Kingdom is not about us. The way of Jesus refreshes us in love! When we are oriented to God’s in-breaking love we too are empowered to name the evil Powers that disorient us individually and collectively. When we live humbly in God’s love, we too share in God’s healing a broken world.
- How do we notice and resist the evil of the world in us and around us?
- How do we heal the brokenness, pain, and suffering all around us?
Alex Mikulich is a Catholic social ethicist and racial equity consultant. He is co-author of The Scandal of White Complicity in U.S. Hyper-Incarceration: A Nonviolent Spirituality of White Resistance (Palgrave 2013 and 2015). He co-edited and contributed to Interrupting White Privilege: Catholic Theologians Break the Silence (Orbis 2007) which won the Theological Book of the Year from the College Theology Society.