Date: Sunday, June 10, 2018
Saturday morning was the feast of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Gospel was from Luke chapter 2 verses 41-51. It recalls an incident in the life of the holy family of Nazareth when Jesus is 12 years old. Mary and Joseph discover that Jesus is not with relatives and friends as they return home from Jerusalem. He remained at the temple listening to the teachers and asking questions. When Mary and Joseph find him they are astonished. Mary says: “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety?” Jesus responds: “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” Together they return home. His parents do not understand. Mary keeps these things in her heart.
Today in our Gospel (according to St. Mark) Jesus now an adult comes home (not to Nazareth but to Capernaum). “When his relatives hear of this they set out to seize him for they say: “He is out of his mind.”
It troubles us that we find this degree of misunderstanding and concern in Jesus’ family about his behavior. But we must have appreciation of the importance of honor and shame in this culture. Scribes from Jerusalem are accusing Jesus of being in league with the prince of demons. These accusations are an embarrassment for his family. How do they come to accept the “power” of Jesus preaching the Kingdom, of Jesus doing marvelous healings, of Jesus expelling demons and of Jesus forgiving sins?
Misunderstandings are true to life. How many people at Mass today have questions and concerns about members of their family? Who ask themselves (and God) if they should say something or intervene or remain silent? Are we willing to accept that we may be wrong? How do we continue loving a family member that is harming him/herself and others?
At the end of our Gospel, Jesus expands the circle of family when his family requests to see him. Jesus asks: “Who are my mother and brothers? Looking at his disciples, Jesus affirms: “For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”