OUT OF HIS MIND

Saturday, 2nd Week in Ordinary Time            

            “He is out of his mind.” Why do Jesus’ relatives feel this way toward him? Let us see if we can understand what makes them feel like that…

            First, Jesus has left home and the carpenter’s business. To be what? To be a wandering preacher. Because of this, perhaps, his relatives are thinking, “How can he support himself now? He does not even have a place to stay in.”

            Second, Jesus is obviously on the way to a head-on collision with powerful people. His relatives know well enough the people that Jesus has antagonized – particularly the Scribes, Pharisees and religious leaders of his day. They know that Jesus has put himself in a very dangerous situation. As William Barclay puts it, “No one could take on the Scribes and Pharisees and the orthodox leaders and hope to get away with it.”

            Third, Jesus has formed a very strange company. His group is composed of fishermen, a former tax collector, a radical, militant nationalist, some other ‘strange’ people. This is not the type of group that you can “depend on” if you want to start a “good career.” Again, Barclay comments, “They were definitely not the kind of people a prudent man would want to get mixed up with.”

            “He has left home and livelihood, has had conflict with powerful people, has formed a weak group of followers… He must have lost his mind.” By his actions Jesus has made it clear that the three laws by which people tend to organize their lives meant nothing to him.

            Jesus has thrown away security. The one thing that most people in this world want more than anything else is just that: security. Of course, primarily it means financial and material security.

            Jesus has thrown away safety. Most people tend at all times to play it safe. They are more concerned with safety of any course of action than with its moral quality, its rightness or its wrongness. A course of action that involves risk is something from which they instinctively shrink.

            Jesus has shown himself utterly indifferent to the ‘verdict’ of others – or not preoccupied with “what others would think and say.” Most people are too preoccupied with what others would think and say. As somebody said, “For most people, the voices of their neighbors are louder than the voice of God.”

            We must ask this question to ourselves: Just like Jesus, are we ready to forget ourselves totally and absolutely out of love for our brothers and sisters?

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