St. Paul tells us that “many” (multi) “walk” as “enemies of the cross of Christ.” Worshipping “their belly” (desires), they “mind earthly things.” Though they “glory . . . in their shame,” we do not do well to follow them, for “their end is destruction.”
If we would do better, our conversation must be “in heaven, from whence also we look for the Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ.” In Latin, Savior (Salvator) derives from salvus: “whole.” Our Savior is the one who makes us whole by fulfilling our deepest desires.
When we see the crowd chasing after “earthly things,” it is hard to believe so many could be so mistaken about something so important as the source of happiness. Yet how can anything that is passing away make us whole? Only Christ, who “is able to subdue all things unto himself,” can “reform the body of our lowness” from its multiple and inevitable corruptions; only he can make it “like to the body of his glory”—a glory that is true, and everlasting.
Jesus frequently spoke to crowds, but what he taught them was not to follow the crowd. This is particularly evident in the case of a double healing about which St. Matthew tells us.
While addressing “the multitudes,” Christ is approached by “a certain ruler.” This man, though he can himself command multitudes, ignores the masses and prostrates himself before the Lord. As Jesus departs to lay a hand upon the man’s dying daughter, a bleeding woman cuts her way through the crowd to touch “the hem of his garment.” Just as the ruler knows that the touch of Christ restores life, this woman knows that to touch the garment of Christ is to be made whole (salva).
As Christ approaches the young girl, now dead, he is met by another “multitude,” this one making a “tumult.” When he declares that the girl is “not dead”—not to his divine power—they laugh him to scorn. In response, Christ teaches us how to deal with multitudes hostile to the truth: he has “the multitude . . . put forth” before raising the maid to life.
Those who seek genuine wholeness rather than popular substitutes must be prepared to endure mockery, and worse. Though we love each of its members, we must learn to bar the multitude and its errors from our hearts, and grasp instead the hand of our Lord Jesus Christ.
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