“He went up the mountain and called to him those whom he wanted, and they came to him.”

Mark 3:1-19

Today’s reading is composed of three parts. The first two involve healing in two different contexts and the third details the calling of the Apostles. In today’s reading we may wish to focus on one or two of these.

In the first part, Jesus has an encounter with the Pharisees in a synagogue. He heals a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath. For Jews, the Sabbath was a day of rest from work. Jesus’ disagreement with the Pharisees is due to their lack of compassion for those in need. They excuse themselves by rigidly adhering to not “working” on the Sabbath. They don’t see that God desires good things that give life to still be done on the Sabbath! What excuses do we give for not doing things that give life? Do we test Jesus or show a hardness of heart in not bending to His will?

The second shows how much hope people placed in Jesus. The places mentioned were many kilometres away from Galilee where Jesus carried out His ministry. People came to be healed and it was here that we learn more about Jesus’ identity: not just healer, but Son of God. How strong is our belief that Jesus is the Son of God?
In the third part, Jesus calls His Apostles, His twelve. He names some of them especially upon this call, such is the change in life that Jesus’ call heralds for us. How do we respond to Jesus’ call today?