When Christ came to the fullness of age and began the decisive work of His pilgrim life, He faced an enormously complex challenge.
He bore in His human hands the power of God. His Sacred Heart beat with divine love for every soul He encountered. He struck fear into the demons, and He dealt them crushing blows.
It pertained to His mission as a man to reveal His divine identity by His words and works. But His particular challenge, as He started out in His ministry, was that for God to reveal Himself to us is more easily said than done.
It is not that God has trouble expressing Himself. It is that we have trouble understanding Him.
It’s not that He is inarticulate. It is that we are obtuse. We are too quick to grasp and hold on for dear life to little things when He has much bigger things to give.
God bestows every benefit we receive. But the greatest benefit of all is God Himself.
So the Lord Jesus healed and exorcised. He benefitted His beloved people with health and psychological peace.
But He could not allow them to think that this was “it.” He did not come to earth to cure people’s colds, miserable as a cold can make a person. Aching sneezing stuffy head fever can’t rest—a bummer, to be sure. But God did not come to the world to do the work of NyQuil. He came to cure people’s tendency towards sin and death.
So, as we read: He unfolded some of His divine power to manifest His identity and His zealous love. But He had to keep moving, keep pushing, keep lifting everyone around Him to the higher levels of spiritual vigor and communion that lead to the transcendent goal.
Yes, I will heal your diseases. Yes, I will feed your hunger. Yes, I will expel the demons who afflict you. Of course I will do these things. I am your Creator Who made you for health and happiness, and I love you and came to help you.
But no, I will not rest here. No, I will not hang up a shingle as your local wonder-worker and settle down in a little house of my own where you can bring your cripples and your lepers for treatment during the office hours I advertise.
No, I have to march on. My main duty is to the truth.
…This week we begin another year of reading our way through the gospels and the other scriptures of our lectionary. Time marches on.
The Lord has the same challenges with us as He did with the residents of Capernaum. We know Him. We know His word. We know His divine identity. But He has more to reveal. We have not grasped it all. He has added another year to our lives for one reason: to teach us some more.