Gospel of Mark 3:20-35
The crowd came together again, so that Jesus and his disciples could not even eat. When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, “He has gone out of his mind.” And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He has Beelzebul, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons.” And he called them to him, and spoke to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but his end has come. But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his property without first tying up the strong man; then indeed the house can be plundered.
“Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— for they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.”
Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.” And he replied, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother
Let us Pray: Friends in Christ, God invites us to hold the needs of our sisters and brothers as dear to us as our own needs. Loving our neighbors as ourselves, we offer our thanksgivings and our petitions on behalf of our family, the church, and the world. This we pray in your name. Amen.
Coming to God and God’s Kingdom is really like coming home to family. Family is as foundational a concept in the Bible as anything else. The Bible begins in Genesis, not with talk of nations and tribes, but families. Throughout the bible there are comparisons of the relationship between God and humankind, Kings and subjects, masters, and slaves, but it always comes back around to family. In today’s Gospel the emphasis is on Jesus’ family. How His family attempted to protect Him. He had to be crazy. He had to be out of his mind. He had to be possessed by a demon or worse. He, obviously, had spent too much time around the wrong people, It seems that we are forever trying to put the pieces of our lives with our family together, as were Jesus’ family. That’s why the crowd has gathered around Jesus. That’s why the religious authorities opposed him. That’s why his family tried to restrain him. Their life and their world are neither what they thought they were nor what Jesus knows they could be. One reality has fallen and a new one is ready to rise. His comments “that anyone who does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” Jesus was not being intentionally disrespectful toward his earthly family. He was using this as another important opportunity to help people understand His kingdom and the type of relationship His people should have with Him. So, who is his family? Those who do the will of God. When you do the will of God you get the chance to be his brother, his sister…even his mother. Jesus always stands before us as the image of unity, wholeness, integration. He does for us what we cannot do for ourselves. He attempts to put our lives and houses back in order. Jesus offers a different image of what life might look like. He does so by revealing the division in our lives and families divided cannot survive. But most of the time we’re God’s children. God’s daughters and sons who bring great joy as well as great concern. We know that Jesus would challenge us. And He is challenging you, to love in the face of a world that prefers to divide rather than heal. Jesus is challenging you to include rather than draw lines of exclusion. Jesus is challenging you to be who you were created to be, creatures of love. You are his family after-all. You have been loved into this world through the wide-open arms of Jesus. So, open your own arms wide. Love as you have been loved.
Let us pray: Heavenly Father wherever nature’s beauty or the daily miracles around help us to see your hand at work we thank you for the grace to live and enjoy it to the full. This we pray in your name, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.