January 26, 2013 - Saturday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time

2 Timothy 1:1-8 or Titus 1:1-5
Psalm 96:1-3, 7-8, 10
Mark 3:20-21

We are told that “When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.’” The original words in Greek here can mean relatives, but it literally means “his own”. Jesus’ own people, his mother and brothers.

Now we know that Jesus did not have any brothers, strictly speaking. The word brothers refers either to his step-brothers from a previous marriage of Joseph or to his cousins who were sometimes called brothers in that culture. We also know that Mary, Jesus’ mother, did not really think that he was out of his mind. She knows that he is God. While she did not understand everything that he did, she did trust him completely. I think that when Jesus’ brothers decided to go, she simply went along because she would never turn down an opportunity to see Jesus.

But what about these brothers? Anyone with a sibling who causes trouble can understand their minds. They are concerned for Jesus, that he will hurt himself or get himself killed. They are also concerned for the family’s reputation. They are going to go find him and “seize him” as the Gospel says, take hold of him, get him under control.

When they arrive they find something very different than what they were evidently expecting. They do not find crowds of people laughing at Jesus. They do not find a small contingent of equally crazy people following him around. They find crowds of sane people listening. They hear his teaching: rather than the crazed rambling they expected. It is beautiful to listen to. They find that one of their brothers, James, has become an apostle of Jesus.

When we look at the world around us, we too might be convinced that God is crazy. There is too much violence and too much suffering. The wicked go unpunished. We might have a temptation to go to God and take hold of him and tell him how he ought to be running the universe. Then we look around and see the whole world, a delicate balance of physical laws and living creatures and free people and realize that we must trust God, simply. We can have faith in him; we do not need to be afraid.