Loving, Tender & Kind

Loving, Tender & Kind

Mark 7:31-37

Jesus came to heal us, Jesus came to show us His tender, compassionate love. Jesus came to heal human sin and bring us back to the beauty of God’s creation. 

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

There is a remarkable aspect of todays gospel that is not immediately apparent. We are told that Jesus is travelling from Tyre – in the north – to Galilee in the south. Simple enough. Except, if you take a look at the map you’ll see that his journey doesn’t make sense. He starts his journey South by going to Sidon – in the north… it’s like travelling from Manchester to London, via Edinburgh. 

On first examination this doesn’t make a great deal of sense, but as you start to read around the gospel you notice that there is another element in play… not geography… but time.

This journey took a long time, perhaps about eight months or so, and in this extended journey Jesus walked with his disciples and in their time together the disciples listened and learned. In fact in the very next chapter of Mark, Peter makes the great discovery that Jesus is Christ! This discover didn’t come from nowhere – but came after an extended period of time travelling with Jesus and seeing Him at work in the world. 

In many ways this long journey through the Holy Land was the quiet before the storm. A time of peace and a time of journeying together. I like to think of it as Jesus last pilgrimage before his arrival in Jerusalem. 

Those extended periods of time in peace are so important when the storms come. That growing closer together in love of God and growing deeper in a knowledge of Him is what brings a family of faith together. 

I suppose you could say that we have had an extended time of forced travelling together. Our first year together has been one that has forced quietness on us. But in that time we have come to know one another in a deep and loving way. I know you, you know me and in the coming months as we walk together out into Hayes through various missions – the new choir, the rosary mission, the parent and toddler group, the bric-a-brac sales, the Christmas carol concerts… I know that we will make that journey together. When we meet our first difficulty, when we find that we are tired, when we find that things are tough… we will know and love one another and, in that love, know that we can continue.

But, that does not mean that we go running and shouting out into Hayes at full throttle and full voice! As much as I would like to!

No. We must turn to the gospel and look for inspiration and direction from Jesus in what we do as we head out. 

Jesus arrived at Galilee through the district of Decapolis. There a deaf man, who also struggled to talk, was brought to him. At this point Jesus has been travelling for months, news of his miracles and His healing will have travelled ahead of him and I’m sure that wherever he turned up people were waiting for him, people would push to get near him.

So then, how does Jesus respond to the deaf man? He takes the man aside, away from the crowds and heals him – and how he does that is a model for us as we step out into the wider world. 

First, Jesus recognises that this man needs quiet and peace and takes him away from the crowd. This is tender, it is kind, it is thoughtful and deeply considerate. 

This is how we must be when people approach us and ask about Jesus, or as we approach them in one of our missions. We must be tender, we must be kind, we must be thoughtful, and we must be deeply considerate.

Jesus explains what He is going to do next. He touched the man’s ears and then he touched his hands to his tongue for some spit (as my father would say when I fell and grazed my knee – have some magic spit and make it better! This was just the same in Jesus’ day, a father giving comfort and healing), then he looks up to Heaven – this healing will come from God – spoke the word and the man was healed.

This is how we must be when people approach us and ask about Jesus… we must SHOW them what it means to have faith. We must show them that healing comes from God, that our faith is a lived and experienced faith. That we live it out first by coming to church and are then sent out in His love, filled, and nourished with His sacrament to bring others to His son. 

We show them what healing is going to be – they see it when they come on a Sunday morning, or when they come to daily mass or attend the foodbank or the church larder or the rosary mission or the toddler group or one of the concerts, they see it when they first come to church and somebody invites them to stay for tea & coffee… they see what it looks like in us as individuals, and us as a family. 

People will look at each and every one of us and judge what it is to be a Christian – so let’s show them…. This Autumn Term let’s show them what it means to be a Christian, to reach out and heal people, to be compassionate, to be tender, to be kind, to be loving!

In the final part of our gospel the people pronounce their judgement on what Jesus has just done.. they say… ‘he has done all things well’. This harks back to the story of creation in Genesis when God first created the world and saw that it was good. 

Jesus came to heal us, Jesus came to show us His tender, compassionate love. Jesus came to heal human sin and bring us back to the beauty of God’s creation. 

What will people say when they see us out in the world, and we invite them in? Will they turn and say to each other ‘they have done all things well’… will our example be one that calls people to Jesus’ tender, compassionate love? Will it call them to be healed, to be brought back the beauty of God? 

Yes, I have no doubt – yes!