Our Gospel today opens with the line, “Jesus came home with his disciples.” Aww, ain’t that nice? Jesus came home….
In our culture we think of homecoming as a good thing. Home is supposed to be a place of rest, of security, of acceptance, of safety. It is where you can be yourself. Maybe we have some college students with us today, home from your exhausting labors at university. Hopefully your time at home is relaxing, refreshing and rejuvenating. That is what it is supposed to be.
But we know that that is not always the case. And it certainly was not the case for Jesus. “Jesus came home with his disciples.” But instead of being a place of rest, relaxation and rejuvenation, it is a mad house. We are told, “Again the crowd gathered, making it impossible for them even to eat.” Not even able to eat?!? Awful!
And seeing this madness, Jesus’ family, instead of supporting Him, think that Jesus has lost it and want to intervene to protect Him. Our Gospel states: “When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.” Jesus’ family see this commotion and craziness and think Jesus has lost it, and so want to intervene.
If that is not bad enough, who shows up but Jesus’ old enemies, the scribes from Jerusalem. They claim Jesus is possessed, and that is why Jesus can work miracles. Jesus is a tool of the Devil! “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” they claim, and “By the prince of demons he drives out demons.” they announce.
REJECTION! Jesus is facing rejection big time. Jesus is rejected by His family, by those who are close to Him, and Jesus is rejected by the
religious leadership, the ones who should be on His side, promoting the Will of God. This is rejection up close and personal.
But Jesus is not phased. Jesus knew that following God’s Will means breaking with the ways of the world, and that break will cause opposition. Jesus expected it, and He dealt with it. //
How about us? How about you? If our lives are not causing anyone to look at us a little askance, as if we are ‘a little nuts,’; if our actions and decisions do not cause some people to shake their heads in wonderment, or cause some sort of opposition and disagreement with us, then we better check to see if we really are living a Christian life. Because to truly follow Christ means living in a way different from the world. And the world does not at all like that difference. It accurately sees that as a criticism and a condemnation. And you cannot go around condemning the way of this world and not expect a negative reaction.
Brothers and sisters we are entering some dark times. The vile forces of greed and sexism and racism and hatred have been unleashed around the world. Civility has declined and the Pandora’s box of nationalism and hatred has been propped open. We will face, increasingly I am afraid, a lack of civility and a growth of hatred. It cannot end well.
However, the Gospel is Good News. For out of this experience of rejection by those who are supposed to be close to Him, Jesus forms a new community, a new family. When Jesus’ family, His mother and brothers and sisters arrive and summon Him to come out to them, Jesus uses the opportunity to create a new family, a new community, a community not based on blood, or nationality, or race, or economic status, or political alignment, not even on religious affiliation.
Rather Jesus’ new community is based on doing the Will of God. Jesus declares, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the Will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”
Real relationship with Jesus does not depend on heredity, nor on religion, nor on nationality, nor on political party, nor sexual orientation, nor on race. Rather it depends on living as a child of God. “For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”
We are called to be Jesus’ brothers and sisters, and as such, brothers and sisters to each other. A new family in a new way. We are the new community of Jesus’ family, and with Him we truly find security, and comfort, and peace. AMEN.