08 Jun 10th Sunday
Dear OLPH Family and Friends,
Today’s Gospel has a two-part scene from the life of Christ. Beginning with something unique to Mark’s Gospel, Jesus’ family comes to the conclusion that he has gone crazy. Their evidence? He’s gained fame as an exorcist and a healer who will touch women, lay hands on lepers, eats with known sinners, proclaims forgiveness, disregards pious fasting practices, and provokes the wrath of religious authorities by openly violating Sabbath restrictions. He does all of this while preaching repentance and announcing that the kingdom of God is at hand.
At the very least, this extraordinary behavior put Jesus in danger and reflected very poorly on his kin. To be true to the culture we can’t simply state the family was out to protect their reputation. If Jesus were to have been condemned for blasphemy, the family could save His life by declaring him insane. It would be pretty much the same today in criminal cases when the defendant claims insanity. They can be sent to a mental health facility in lieu of the death penalty. Only God knows what the family of Jesus had as their primary motive.
The family’s opinion was nothing in comparison with what the scribes had to say. “He is possessed by Beelzebub.” How did Jesus respond to those statements from His family and the scribes? As He so often did, He responded with a story meant to guide his listeners to look at life from a different perspective. He called them to look at life’s challenges, not from society’s norms, but from the perspective of the Father’s love, one that calls us to a deeper understanding of what it means to be His children.
If we are to live as Christ taught us, to love one another, to help each other journey together, our house must be built with Christ at the center – build with humility, forgiveness, understanding, love. To build our lives, our house with anything less, is to invite disaster. To live our lives with these virtues is to invite others to participate in the saving grace of God’s love. It allows God to transform others by opening our hearts to the Spirit. By living our lives with love, we invite others to become our brothers and sisters, our family.
Being a Christian is not an insurance policy against anything bad happening. What it does mean is that Jesus will always be with us. Challenges, too, will always be with us. But those challenges help us grow in our faith, give us strength for the journey, help us grow closer to our Lord.
May God bless, preserve and keep you!