9 and 10 June 2018 Tenth Sunday Ordinary Time B Homily
Second Corinthians 4:13-5:1
My sisters and brothers in Christ.
We have made our way through the “extraordinary time” of Lent, Easter and the various special Sunday feasts that follow Pentecost such as the Trinity and the Body and Blood of Christ.
We return today to Mark’s Gospel which will be our “normal” Sunday Gospel. There are exceptions to this “normal” routine.
One special exception to the “normal” rhythm of hearing Mark’s Gospel each Sunday is that towards the end of July we will celebrate the Feast of Blessed Stanley Rother. On July 28 and 29 will be the first opportunity since Father Rother’s beatification to celebrate his Feast.
Now, back to the Gospel of Mark at hand.
We are in chapter three which is fairly early in this shortest of the four Gospels.
Jesús has done some healing and has faced some criticism for “eating with tax collectors and sinners”. Jesús gives a brief but complete explanation to this criticism:
“I have come not come to call the righteous but sinners.” (2:17)
Jesús has also crossed another boundary. His disciples have “worked” picking grain on the sabbath. Again Jesús answers his critics with a few well chosen words: “The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.”
Jesús also has upset his family and the “Scribes” because of his teaching.
His family comes to “seize Jesús” saying, “He is out of his mind”.
This is proof that Mark’s Gospel must be the earliest Gospel because Mark gives us an unvarnished snapshot of Jesús in chapter 3.
Jesús is a real human being with a real human family.
As a personal aside I have always taken comfort from this vignette in Mark’s Gospel since my family has on a number of occasions thought “Tom is out of his mind”. They have occasionally even said that to me.
In today’s Gospel Jesús is accused of being possessed by Beelzebul by the Scribes.
Jesús points out that he cannot be possessed by Beelzebul because he drives out devils.
Jesús again hears from his family. They are “asking for Jesús”. This, for Jesús and his disciples, a teachable moment.
Jesus asks “Who are my mother and my brothers?”
Jesús looks around and declares, “Here are my mother and brothers. For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”
Jesús has made clear that believing in him is not even about him but about “doing the will of God”.
The Scribes may have “talked” about God’s will but may have never discovered doing God’s will was doing the work of mercy and forgiveness.
Jesús clarifies that “family” his “family” is not determined
this or that religious group,
this or that ethnic background,
this or that social class,
this or that language,
this or that gender.
Jesús redefines family for the Scribes, his listeners, his own birth family and you and I.
Jesús includes “sisters” in “his” family.
It is a good thing Jesús included his sisters in his “family”
If his sisters are like my sisters he would have heard clearly and loudly about their not being included!