Gospel Mark 3:20-35
Jesus talks about us all being members of God’s family.
In Sunday’s Gospel, Mark 3:20-35 Jesus asks the question ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ He then points to everyone around him and says ere are my mother and my brothers. Anyone who does the will of God, that person is my brother and sister and mother.’
Jesus and his apostles were travelling around Galilee. Wherever they went, Jesus would heal the sick and drive unclean spirits from people. One day, Jesus came home with his friends. As usual, a huge crowd gathered around him, and Jesus and the apostles couldn’t even eat a meal. When Jesus’ relatives heard that Jesus was home, they made plans to seize him because they were worried about him. “He is out of his mind,” they said. The scribes, who had come from Jerusalem, thought that Jesus was possessed by an unclean spirit. They even suggested that Satan was giving him the power to remove unclean spirits from those who were possessed. “By the prince of demons he drives out demons,” they insisted.
When Jesus heard what the scribes were saying, he summoned the crowd to him and began to speak in parables.“How can Satan drive out Satan?” Jesus asked those in the crowd. “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; that is the end of him. But no one can enter a strong man’s house to plunder his property unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can plunder the house.”
Then Jesus told everyone about a sin that could not be forgiven: attributing to Satan things that are the work of the Holy Spirit. “Amen, I say to you, all sins and all blasphemies that people utter will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an everlasting sin,” he said.
Just then, some people in the crowd told Jesus that his mother and other relatives had arrived and were asking for him. “Who are my mother and my brothers?” Jesus asked as he looked at the people gathered around him.Jesus spread out his arms. “Here are my mother and my brothers,” he said of the crowd. “For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”
The Bible talks a lot about families.
For example, in the Book of Genesis, we read that God created Adam and Eve, the first family. Afterward, he told them to “be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it” (Gn 1:28).
God also talked about families in two of the Ten Commandments. In Exodus 20, he told the Israelites to honor their fathers and mothers and to be faithful to their spouses.
In Ephesians 5:33, the apostle Paul said that husbands and wives should love and respect each other. In Colossians 3:20-21, St. Paul also said that children should obey their parents, and fathers should not provoke or discourage their children.
Jesus talked about the sacredness of marriage in Matthew 19:1-6. And in John 19:25-27, right before he died on the cross, he made sure that his own mother was taken care of by one of his apostles.
During his ministry, Jesus also talked about being part of God’s family, which includes everyone who does God’s will.
So not only did Jesus see the biological family as important, but also the spiritual family — the members of his church, who might not even be related to one another.
Reflecting on the readings with the children:
Quite a put down for Jesus’ family in the gospel: he says that his family are not just blood family but all of us, doers and hearers of his word. His family had come to object to his mission and take him home, thinking he had gone out of his mind. The family Jesus and Jesus himself would go through a few years of alienation, except with his mother who was there with him to the end. At Pentecost they would be united, with the apostles, and Mary and James, ‘the brother of Jesus’ together.
Despite all this it’s good to know that Jesus was part of an ordinary family who disagreed and even were distant for a while. Family life, as the man said, ‘can be heaven or hell’, all in the one day. Family life is the place of agreement and disagreement. It’s also the place of learning to live with the differences between us all.
Faith can unite. When we keep the word of God and live by it, then we are his true family. When we do this, we get a lot of strength to keep going. Family life may be heaven or hell, but it’s made each of us who we are. An energy for family life is gratitude – thank God each day for something in someone of our family. It will often fill your day!
Dear Lord! Fill our parents with Thy choicest blessings;