Sunday, 7 February 2021

Sermon: For this purpose I have come, 5th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B

Mk 1:29-39; 1 Cor 9:16-19,22-23

What was it like to meet the Lord?

It was to meet someone who utterly knew what He was about, His purpose, His mission

In reading today’s Gospel text, I was struck by this:

The crowds at Capernaum were demanding,

Peter and the apostles demanding…

But HE,

He knew he had somewhere else to be

He knew he had another group who needed Him

“… for this purpose I have come”


To meet the Lord was to meet someone who utterly knew what He was about, His purpose, His mission

He spoke to you, knowing what He was about

He came to you, knowing what His mission TO YOU implied

He preached

He healed

He cast out demons

-doing these, and all things, knowing what He was about


The Lord comes to us, too, today 

And He still knows what He is about

He knows what YOU need from Him

The teaching YOU need, 

what you need to hear TODAY

The sickness of soul YOU need to be cured of, 

right now

The demons YOU need have cast out: 

the oppression, the weight, the sin, 

that you need release from TODAY

The crowds, as we heard, flocked to Him

What is OUR eagerness in coming to Him?



The Lord knew what He was about,

 He knew the purpose for which He had come.

St Paul, too, knew what He was about.

There are many things we recognise when we meet someone who knows what they are about,

But, I’d suggest to you, one of the most striking, 

is when we meet someone who is clearly “about” OTHER people.

Someone whose busyness isn’t with their OWN agenda, 

but with what they see OTHER people need 

-maybe not what other people WANT, 

but what they need.

St Paul, in a phrase that I sometimes find terrifyingly exhausting as a pastoral model, 

said in today’s epistle:  

“I have become ALL things for ALL people, 

that I might save some of them”.

To live our lives focussed on others,

To live our lives so focussed on others that we can talk:

liturgy with the trads, 

biceps curls with the jocks, 

and Star Trek stuff with the nerds 

Continually shifting, 

continually becoming all things for all people, 

because that’s just a part of what love is about.



It’s often said that if you have the honour to meet certain ‘great’ people, 

they radiant the sense that 

when they’re talking to you, they are utterly interested in YOU.

I’ve often read such comments from people who met John Paul II and Mother Teresa.

It must have been so, 

to a superlative degree,

to be with the Lord.


This is the terrifyingly exhausting bit: 

if we would be His priests, 

then we must strive to make it so with us too.

To day by day, 

hour by hour, 

minute by minute, 

be continually shifting to be “all things to all people”.


Where do we get the power to be such a person?


“Rising very early before dawn, He left and went off to a deserted place, where He prayed.” (Mk 1:35)

If I would be like Him:

To about a man of purpose

To be about others

To be about love


I must come to Him, 

meet Him, 

be with Him.

Peter went off looking for Him, 

and finding Him said, “Everyone is looking for you”.

Let us also look for Him, 

That we might become, like Him, 

men of purpose, 

men for others.

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