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The Bible In A Year: Day 39

Leviticus 5-6
Psalm 35
Mark 5

Today’s two chapters of Leviticus pick up where we left off yesterday with a few more scenarios of sin offerings and how they are to be atoned for, and that is followed by several regulations on guilt offerings.

The reading closes with some more details to the priests on exactly how, where and when they’re to offer the different types of offerings.

Mark 5

After crossing the sea and calming the waves at the end of chapter 4, Jesus and the apostles arrive in a gentile area called Gerasene. Here he is confronted by a man who was possessed by a demon, and when Jesus ordered the demon out it begged him not to be tormented.

This man was apparently stronger than what would be considered natural, Mark tells us he had been bound by chains but he broke them and now lived among the tombs. Both of these are signs that something very serious is wrong with this man, and the unnatural strength can be considered a classic sign of demonic possession.

When Jesus asks for the demon’s name he replies we “legion,” whether taken literally (a Roman legion contained between 5000 and 6000 men) or figuratively, what is being conveyed here is that this man was possessed by a very large number of demons and was being tormented in his own body.

Before they were cast out of the man they begged to be allowed to enter a herd of pigs that were there on the hillside. In Luke’s gospel he adds the detail that they begged not to be cast into the abyss, which is where satan and his minions will spend eternity after the final judgment. T

he pigs, now possessed by a legion of demons, hurdle down the hill and drown in the sea. This might be a callback to prior enemies of God who had drown in the sea during the exodus, or a foreshadowing of the demonic beast of Revelation that will rise from the sea.

Even though he’d just healed this man from demonic possession, the people begged him to leave. This could’ve been because he had just wiped out a very large herd of their pigs, or perhaps they liked the way life was and were scared he’d come and change things in their town. Either way, his visit to the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee was very short lived.

When he arrives at the other side of the sea, back by where he has set up his base of operations during his ministry, he performs two miracles that are linked by both being healings brought on by great acts of faith, and by a link in time.

In the first miracle, a man named Jairus approached him and begs him to come heal his daughter, and Jesus begins to leave with him when the second miracle takes place. A woman who had been hemorrhaging for twelve years comes up and touches Jesus’ robe as he passed. Because she was ceremonially unclean according to Levitical Law (and had been for 12 years), her touching him would normally make him unclean, but Jesus came to heal, cleanse and restore all things. Her faith in reaching out to Jesus healed her and cleansed her.

When they arrive at Jairus’s house they’re informed that the girl has died, but Jesus reassured him and entered with just his closest disciples, Peter, James and John. These three made up his inner circle so to speak, and were with him on the Mount of Transfiguration and in the garden before his passion.

After telling her to rise, she comes back to life and walks from her bed like Lazarus did. We then learn that she was twelve years old, so as long as she had been alive the woman with the hemorrhage had been bleeding. What is Saint Mark trying to convey to us here?

Prayer to Jesus is answered by him already during his ministry, through signs that anticipate the power of his death and Resurrection: Jesus hears the prayer of faith, expressed in words (the leper, Jairus, the Canaanite woman, the good thief) or in silence (the bearers of the paralytic, the woman with a hemorrhage who touches his clothes, the tears and ointment of the sinful woman). The urgent request of the blind men, “Have mercy on us, Son of David” or “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” has-been renewed in the traditional prayer to Jesus known as the Jesus Prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!” Healing infirmities or forgiving sins, Jesus always responds to a prayer offered in faith: “Your faith has made you well; go in peace.” St. Augustine wonderfully summarizes the three dimensions of Jesus’ prayer: “He prays for us as our priest, prays in us as our Head, and is prayed to by us as our God. Therefore let us acknowledge our voice in him and his in us.”

CCC 2616

Tomorrow’s Readings:
Leviticus 7-8
Psalm 36
Mark 6

One comment on “The Bible In A Year: Day 39

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