The Winter Olympics are almost here and I'm excited. While I love the competition I especially look forward to getting to know the athletes and their life's journey to the Olympics. I just read an article about Maame Biney, a 17 year-old American speed skater who is expected to do great things in PyeongChang, South Korea. She was asked about how her life has been different since she qualified for the Olympic team. Her response, that her new-found fame has been overwhelming, made me think about this week's Gospel.
Then they came to Capernaum, and on the sabbath Jesus entered the synagogue and taught. The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes. In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit; he cried out, "What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!" Jesus rebuked him and said, "Quiet! Come out of him!" The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him. All were amazed and asked one another, "What is this? A new teaching with authority. He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him." His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee. Mark 1:21-28
It is important to recognize that the conversation in this passage is between Jesus and the unclean spirit. It is the voice of the spirit that speaks to Jesus acknowledging who He is, "the Holy One of God." Those that observed Jesus driving out the demon immediately change their impression of who He is. As the story continues Jesus' fame spreads and the crowds surely follow.
The question we need to ask is, why did they seek out Jesus? There surely was a level of fascination that accompanied Jesus' "performance". What draws us to Jesus? Is it what He has done for us? Or is it our hope that He will do something astonishing for others we love? What should we be focusing on?
To me the draw of the Olympics is getting to know the people who perform sometimes astonishing athletic feats. I love the response that Maame Biney had to the question of being a role-model. "I don't think of myself as a role model because I'm 17 years old and still a kid. But that's amazing, and I hope to inspire everyone to go for it." Maame knows who she is. Jesus did too. Knowing 'the Holy One of God' is what should inspire us all. "Go for it!"