Scripture: Lectionary 316. January 22, 2011, Saturday. Hebrews
9:2-3,11-14. Psalm 47:2-3,6-7.8-9. Mark 3:20-21

Today's Readings

How would you react if several members of your family came to see you and
tell you, "You are out of your mind! You are to come with us so that you do
not harm yourself." Now according to the literal way of interpreting the
passage of today, the relatives of Jesus are saying this and trying to take
him away from his active ministry. Is his mother among them? From the
final section of chapter three there is a strong possiblity she is. Of
course, Jesus is not going to leave the people to go back home to be with
them. The expression in Greek allows for the above interpretation but
several exegetes see in the grammatical construction that the expression
can be referring to the crowds which seem to getting out of control or out
of their minds in their pursuit of Jesus to take him away. Mark is
developing the opposition and hostility toward Jesus that will be expresse
in the verses that follow that even associate Jesus with the work of the
devil, the one who puts people out of their minds. One has to depend on
the experts for unravelling such a passage to get the meaning that Mark has
for the readers of his time. Our rereading the passage in the light of the
whole of chapter three will help us to agree with either the first
interpretation or the second favored by a great exegete from England, Henry
Wansbrough, O.S.B.

Could this be Mark's theological theme of "thinking the thoughts of God"
rather than that of human persons? It certainly is an incident in his life
that involves people or his relatives confronting him about his activities
and his preaching as an itinerant charismatic. Mark may be telling us the
present readers to think the thougts of God and not judge by human
standards. Mark will show again and again how not only relatives fall into
their own theological thinking but also his disciples who are slow to learn
what it means to be a follower of Jesus even to the Cross. The story will
develop in Mark and by keeping in mind his point of view we will be able to
make some practical application of the passage to ourselves. Mark is
interested in forming the disicples of Jesus into thinking God's thoughts
and not their own.

A good spiritual director tries to help his visitors to do what is
suggested by Mark. Are we open to seeking out God's way by being directed
by a skilled spiritual director? Or do we freak out when anyone infringes
on our control system that is so inbuilt in most of us? Jesus relatives
were not buying into his ministry. They were not thinking along with him
nor following his way. They were only interested in seeing things their
way. Am I willing to seek advice about my spiritual life? Or do I cling to
my need to control everything that comes my way or under my
responsibilities? Sometimes we need to go back to Mark's introduction to
Jesus who is telling us to reform, to change, to convert our way of doing
and thinking. This is what metanoia is all about. And a lot of this is
accepting Mark's Gospel as the first Way of the Cross Gospel. Amen.