Is he really ‘out of his mind?
It is easy to admire individuals we think live an incredible, exciting life. We think of adventurers like astronauts, politicians, and mega-stars who might be rich and famous, leading an attractive lifestyle. It seems like we’d be crazy not to want to live this kind of life. On the other hand, we disregard people who are zealous about their opinions and their way of life. We think of people who are negatively different, people who are “obsessive” about their religion, people who knock on our doors to talk about following Jesus, individuals who go on fasts for the defense of others and those who point out there are folks who live on the margins, who need help and not just our money. These are the people who invite us to live our faith and can at times make us feel uncomfortable.
In our Gospel from Mark today, we see that Jesus’ life was not easy by any stretch of the imagination. People didn’t like what he said or how he lived. Even his own family was embarrassed by him and wanted to take him away from the crowds. His family were those who are either related by blood or are close to Jesus. Not everyone close to him liked how he lived or what he preached. They wanted and pressured him to stop. In the middle of this, Jesus tells us through parables that all our sins will be forgiven unless we decide that Jesus is of the devil or has an unclean spirit; this will never be forgiven.
The very last verses of this gospel are perhaps the most important. Here, Jesus expands the idea of who his family is: it is not just blood relatives but “whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” When you come to Mass today, look around the church: all of us, you and me, are Jesus’ brothers and sisters by doing the will of God. We are related by the Blood of the Lord Jesus which is given to and for us and we are related as the Body of Christ to do the will of God. As St. Paul writes in our Second Reading, “we too believe and we speak.” By speaking, we put our faith into action.
We are called to follow this so-called crazy person from Nazareth who some said was possessed by a demon, to share our faith with others by how we live our very lives. So how do we do this? Here are some suggestions: you and your family members or even your friends can come down to St. Angela’s on a Saturday morning and volunteer with Bread of Angels to help serve and give breakfast to the poor. Don’t just silently give them a plate; smile at them, talk with them and let them tell you their story, or volunteer at Orange County’s Catholic Worker; occatholicworker.org; 714-835-6304. The Catholic Worker houses and feeds those on the margins and helps them find their way. There are a lot of things you and your family can do to help.
These are things we can accomplish, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to actively follow the will of God. If you’d like to talk about other ideas, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the parish office and leave a message for me. You can also contact Fr. Dave, Fr. Francis, Dcn. Ben or any of our staff members. Get involved — live our faith!