On New Year’s Eve, I walked into the backyard and greeted my neighbors. I said something that I think many people were hoping, “May 2021 be better than 2020”. I’d have to say, as we come to the end of the first month of 2021, those hopes have not yet come to fruition.
We made it through a tumultuous election year, and though the TV ads and robocalls have stopped, deep divisions and mistrust continue in our nation. Though we ended the year with the promises of vaccines to come, it now seems as if it will take months for enough of the world’s citizens to be immunized to have a significant effect on the spread of COVID-19; and so many continue to die. We celebrated last Christmas by hearing angels promise “Peace on Earth and goodwill to all,” and yet violence threatens the very halls of Congress, not to mention our city streets.
Yes, the year has started in some disappointing ways, but that makes this week’s gospel especially appropriate. This Sunday, we hear about the launch of Jesus’ ministry in Mark, when he casts out an evil spirit and is received as one who teaches with authority. This moment marks the first public action Jesus takes.