Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and my sister and my mother. Mark 3:34-35
give us such a vision of your purpose,
and such an assurance of your love and power,
that we may ever hold fast the hope
which is in Jesus Christ our Lord;
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of
the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
- 1 Samuel 8:4-11, 16-20; 11:14-15
- Psalm 138
- 2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1
- Mark 3:20-35
- 1 Samuel 15:34-16:13
- Psalm 20
- 2 Corinthians 5:6-10, 14-17
- Mark 4:26-34
A Thought to Ponder
Pentecost 2 – Mark 3:20-35
When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.” The scribes who had come from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “By the prince of demons he drives out demons . . . ”
“How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.”
. . . looking at those who sat around him, [Jesus] said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”
A central theme of Mark’s Gospel is how Jesus’ hearers (especially the Twelve) fail to comprehend the deeper meaning of his words and actions. The wild charges made by the scribes and the apologies offered by his family in today’s Gospel indicate just how misunderstood Jesus was by those closest to him:
The Jesus who calls his disciples to be a united “house” and community is dismissed by his own “house” as “out of his mind.” Apologizing for his exorbitant claims about himself and his challenging their most cherished traditions and revered institutions, his family attempts to bring Jesus home.
The Jesus who cast out demons and cured the sick is charged with being possessed himself. The scribes cannot grasp the single-minded dedication of Jesus to the will of God without the “filters” of their interpretations and direction; hence, he must be an agent of Satan, the prince of demons. (Remember that whatever the people of Gospel Palestine could not understand or explain was considered the work of “demons.”)
The Jesus who comes to be a vehicle of unity among God’s people calls on his hearers to be united in faith and spirit in him in seeking God’s will in all things. The Gospel Jesus destroys the barriers created by race, culture, wealth and social status. He speaks of a new, united human family: the family of God. To fail or refuse to build God’s kingdom of grace is to “blaspheme” against the Spirit of God: to be so mired in cynicism and scepticism that we refuse to embrace the possibilities for realizing the hope of God’s grace. For Jesus, the crushing pessimism that God’s grace is inaccessible to us condemns us to lives of sadness and isolation, not the lives of meaning and joy God envisions for us.
Jesus the “lunatic” comes to heal us of what is, in fact, our own “lunacy” – the lunacy of allowing pettiness, pride, anger, prejudice, and self-centeredness to alienate us from one another, the lunacy” of exalting “me” at the expense of others’ basic necessities, the lunacy of constantly grabbing as much as we can as fast as we can while many on this planet have nothing.
Sometimes we act out of a self-centeredness that is of “Satan” and not out of the compassionate spirit of the Gospel Jesus — and, without fail, the “house” we have built on a foundation of self-centeredness collapses in anger and hurt. If a house that is a real home is to stand, it must be constructed out of forgiveness, humility, and generosity; to build it of “cheaper” materials, to compromise the integrity of the structure by placing one’s own interest over that of the family is to invite disaster.
Jesus’ life is testimony to the reality that the “power” of “Beelzebub” cannot heal or restore or re-create — only the Spirit of God can bring about such transformation.
Jesus comes as the means of unity among God’s people, to reconcile humanity to God and to one another, to instil a deeper understanding and appreciation of our sacred dignity as being made in God’s image. We are called, as the Church of the new covenant, to seek in every person the humanity we all share that comes from God, the Father of all and the Giver of everything that is good.
© Connections/MediaWorks. All rights reserved
You can read the Pew Sheet herePentecost-2-B
Leave a Reply