Tuesday, January 29, 2019
Today, in Mercy, our Gospel describes a scene that has always nettled me a bit.
Jesus is teaching a group inside his small house in Capernaum. He has moved there as he begins his public ministry. Word of his preaching and miracles has created a hubbub all around him, to the point that he can’t get a chance to eat or to rest.
Just a few lines earlier in the Gospel, Mark describes how concerned Jesus’s relatives are about his well-being. Mark 3:21 goes so far as to say:
“When his relatives heard ( how besieged he was) they set out to seize him,
for they said, ‘He is out of his mind’.”
In today’s passage Jesus’s “mother, brothers and sisters” arrive at his home, prevented from entering by the large crowd. They stand outside asking for him. When Jesus hears this, he delivers the nettling remark:
“Who are my mother and my brothers?”
It seems so insensitive, doesn’t it? These people have loved Jesus, played with him, grown up with him! And his mother! My goodness, we all know to listen to, respect, and welcome our mothers!
Praying with this passage though may reveal another dimension in our understanding of Jesus. What Jesus may be saying is this:
All of you, my followers, are closer to me than even the most precious human ties. My family is now the all-encompassing family of my Father. My path is now the Father’s will, not my human family’s hopes and expectations.
Jesus is, at once, acknowledging to his family, his followers and, no doubt, himself that the Father is about to use his life in ways that will transform, awe and shock the world.
He is telling his disciples to be prepared for the same thing if they truly follow him.
I have always imagined Jesus, in the unrecorded memory of this passage, taking Mary aside afterward, gently explaining his purpose. I see her hand on his maturing lightly-whiskered cheek, tears both of pride and fear in her eyes, and a perfect mutual understanding in their smiles.
Music: Perfect Love – Mary’s Song