Podcast Reflections

Reflection on Mark 1.29-39

Listen to a reflection on the gospel reading set for Epiphany 1: Wednesday, 12 January 2022 – Mark 1.29-39

Mark 1.29-39

As soon as Jesus and his disciples left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them.

That evening, at sunset, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. And the whole city was gathered around the door. And he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.

In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. And Simon and his companions hunted for him. When they found him, they said to him, ‘Everyone is searching for you.’ He answered, ‘Let us go on to the neighbouring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.’ And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons.


When I was a teenager it was not uncommon for the language of the Church to revolve around whether, or not, someone had ‘found’ Jesus. I always thought this was a rather strange attempt to sound more modern and in touch with younger people. I thought it strange because it immediately struck me that those asking the question were implying that Jesus was lost. 

Like so many other catchphrases, this one came and went and the fashionable way of speaking about Jesus changed. Then, years later, as I was journeying through the period of retreat that preceded my ordination, I was asked by a very serious young man whether I had ‘found’ Jesus. Given the circumstances in which we were sharing, this seemed an absurd question to be asking anyone, but I was also reminded of my earlier reaction to this question: ‘Why? Is he lost?’

In today’s reading we hear of Simon and his companions hunting for Jesus because everyone was searching for him. The fact that Jesus had withdrawn for a time of prayer does not seem to have occurred to anyone. Instead there was a demand for instant gratification. The crowds had heard and seen Jesus in action, and they wanted more. Instead of hearing, seeing and understanding the Good News that he had brought into their midst, and then accepting the challenge of sharing that Good News with others, they sought to keep Jesus with them, as though he were their own personal property.

Each and every one of us is invited to join in the search for Jesus, but not because he is lost, but because it is we who are lost. Jesus is ever-present, walking the paths we tread, ready to guard and guide us, should we take the life-changing step of opening our eyes and ‘finding’ him alongside us.

The Good News that is Jesus Christ came into this world some two thousand years ago, and has remained with us ever since. The nature of his presence has changed. He is no longer a walking and talking human embodiment of God, but he is still with us. He empowers and encourages us through the power of the Holy Spirit. He is constantly striving to lead us into a closer relationship with his, and our, loving heavenly Father. Jesus is not lost … we are the ones who are walking through this life aimless and rudderless.

You may have encountered those who ask the question: ‘Have you found Jesus?’ Perhaps you are one of those who ask that question. Today’s reading encourages us to revisit and reshape those words. Rather than asking whether someone has ‘found Jesus’ we should be asking: ‘Have you allowed Jesus to find you?’ There’s a thought to sustain and strengthen us as we seek to be faithful disciples and apostles in this age of instant gratification, and trendy catchphrases!