Reflection for Saturday, January 24, 2009: 2nd week in Ordinary Time.

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Kalb, Howie, S.J.
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The message in the two versus that we read in today's Gospel may be the most mysterious of the New Testament. These unknown relatives of Jesus consider him to be losing his mind and are determined to take him back from society and keep him at home. The reason for this interference seems to boil down to the fact that his actions run counter to the prevailing culture. One can only speculate on what these offensive actions were that resulted in the kinsfolk's decision.||It could have begun with his locking up his workshop and walking away from his business for good. When people no longer want their profitable operations they usually sell them, lease them for financial gain or give them to family or friends. The rich young man in the Gospel acted like normal people do. He refused to follow Christ since in no way was he going to part with his wealth. What Jesus did made no sense.|Again, it's countercultural to begin a religion in opposition to the established religion embraced by all the people in the land. At this time and place it was Judaism. True, the Jews were expecting a messiah. But to claim to be that messiah in opposition to the total religious establishment was kind of ridiculous.|We also consider street-people as being a bit feeble minded. If people have a home, a job and security they don't normally choose to live on the street. Yet Jesus left his home and mother and admitted that he was living without having even a pillow on which to lay his head. That kind of behavior would be a bit absurd.|Nor do sane folks begin a group in opposition to the rulers of the land unless they have the where-with-all to begin a full blown revolution. Jesus claimed to be a king and gathered around himself a cadre of questionable people such as a tax collector, a zealot party member, one with traitorous tendencies and another with fickle willpower. It's true. Most of the twelve seemed quite normal but hardly the personnel to successfully overthrow an established empire.|The ultimate message from this passage seems to be telling us that if we want to be Christian, a truly dedicated follower of Jesus Christ, we shouldn't be surprised but might even expect to be considered not quite normal, a bit imbalanced, even weird. If the relatives of Jesus considered "He is out of his mind." Don't be surprised that at times our kinsfolk and others might have similar thoughts about us.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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