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Daily Devotional for July 17


July 17                                                             Mark 1:29-45

Jesus did not enter into his ministry to become a spectacular
healer. Healing was included in his ministry because it
demonstrated God's loving and faithful response to human
need. Similarly, Jesus' preaching was not intended to draw
attention to his powers of insight or declamation, but to point
to God's presence in the world as the fulfillment of the prom-
ises of ancient prophets. In short, Jesus wanted those who
heard his words and saw his works to recognize their deeper
meaning: "The realm of God is in the midst of you." (Luke

In delivering this good news, Jesus went out of his way to keep
the focus on the message and off himself. When a man with
an unclean spirit shouted out Jesus' true identity, Jesus com-
manded him to be silent. (Mark 1 :25) When "the whole city"
came in pursuit of him, he withdrew, first from the house in
which he was staying, then from the entire town. When,
"moved with pity," he healed a leper who had come to him
for help, he sternly charged him to tell only the priest what
had happened.

Jesus adopted this posture because from the very beginning
his primary desire was to extol the loving and faithful presence
of God among the people. He therefore never sought to make
something of himself. In fact, he always sought to diminish
himself. And even though he himself was God, he "did not
count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied
himself, taking the form of a servant." (Phil. 2:6-7) And he
continued to humble himself, day after day, until finally he
lowered himself to the level of a criminal worthy of the cross.
In the strangeness of the mystery of salvation, this humble
death of Jesus on the cross became the ultimate fulfillment of
Jesus' ministry, for it was the quintessential revelation of God's
love for all people.

Today's Gospel challenges us to repent of the subtle and gross
ways that we turn our proclamation of the Gospel into a vehi-
cle for self-glorification. It invites us to put on the humility
of Christ in order to magnify the glory of God. Are we will-
ing to diminish ourselves to that extent?

from The Road to Emmaus - An inclusive devotional Edited by Joseph W. Houle

Emmaus House of Prayer - Washington D.C


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