For a full copy of the Newsletter for the Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time please click on the link; Ordinary time 10th Sunday 10062018
ARE YOU CRAZY ?
Have you ever known a friend or family member to do something totally crazy, completely out of character? Your mother decides to go bungee jumping; your partner suddenly wants to experience sky diving; a work colleague wants to sell up everything, buy a farm and become self-sufficient; your son or daughter wants to drop out of work or university and become a wandering hippie. The first thing you say is “are you out of your mind!” It is an understandable response to something that is out of the ordinary.
In today’s gospel we find Jesus’ family and friends arriving at that same conclusion. Remember this is early in his ministry and he has been preaching, teaching, and healing people at a frantic pace. He has developed a reputation and as a result Jesus has attracted huge crowds and has formed a strange little group of hangers on around him. This group isn’t the most reputable for it includes rough fishermen, a reformed tax-collector; troublemaking people on the fringe. As word reaches his friends and family back home about what he has been doing you could almost hear them all say, “is he out of his mind?”
His family’s response is understandable because they are trying to fathom why Jesus had abandoned his safe and secure job as a much-needed village carpenter with steady income to become a wandering preacher. They can’t understand why he would surround himself with a rag tag group of misfits who only seem to encourage his radical notions and his ever increasing criticism of the Pharisees and Scribes. They knew there was never a good outcome from attacking the political and religious authorities. Probably what was more troubling was the rumour circulating that Jesus had silently claimed to be the long-awaited Messiah and had worked miracles to support his claim.
He must be out of his mind is the only conclusion his family can come to. That is why, early in today’s gospel, his family undertake what we would now call an intervention; trying to rescue Jesus from the mess he got himself into.
We can only imagine the effect this rejection had on Jesus. The response of his family and those he had grown up with must have come as a bitter shock. It is basically a rejection of everything he stood for, a denial of all that he was teaching, dismissing his message as delusional and discarding any signs and miracles as pure fabrications. We all know what that rejection feels like. We all know how that sort of rejection makes us question ourselves and doubt what we believe.
Confronted with this rejection it would have been easy for Jesus simply to throw in the towel and allow himself to be carried back to Nazareth, returning to the simple and safe village life everyone envisioned for him. But he didn’t! Jesus’ baptism and his emerging realisation of who he is and his task to herald the Kingdom of God means he could not go back.
It is the same for us. Because of our baptism, our faith and the choices and sacrifices we make, don’t expect everyone to applaud. It’s quite possible that those closest to you, even your own family, may think you’re crazy because of what you believe and how you live your life. If and when that happens – know that you are in good company!
Fr Peter Brannelly