Gospel Reflection – 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle B – Mark 3:20-35

Who are my mother and brothers? This is the question Jesus asks. And, as he does so, he looks out at us, we who listen to him and cleave to his words. This should give us great inspiration, courage and fortitude as we develop our journey into Christ.
This comes up in the Gospel after Jesus tells us how a house cannot be divided. Jesus’ actions were so unusual at the time – even in an age of wonder workers – that many harassed him, suggesting that he was possessed. These included his family.
It is often our family that expects to know us best. But in the case of today’s Gospel, their familiarity perhaps shielded them from the full view of Jesus’ Godliness. Those around him who were outside his family circle – those who knew him less or not at all – were the ones who Jesus pointed to as being his family on that occasion. This is not because he renounced his family, but because they came with a more open mind to what was before them. Those who grew up with Jesus playing in the streets would find it more difficult to understand.
How open are we to Jesus? Or to put it another way, do we come to him with our own preconceptions or those of others? Many, for example, tend to see Jesus as their constant friend and companion, almost like a talisman or an invisible friend. There is great and grave danger in this. It opens up a pathway to Jesus being our advocate even in the parts of our life where he would chastise us for our actions or words. It assumes that we may easily shoehorn Jesus into a particular system of life, rather than being the other way around: adapting to a Christ who, yes, we try to know but cannot fully, and doing all we can despite our unknowing. After all, if we think we know Christ fully, if we really and truly think that, then we will find that took the wrong turning some time ago.

Let’s think today, too, of Mary, whose entire vocation was one of unknowing, of acquiescing to the will of God despite not being aware, herself, of exactly what it is she is doing and why it was her who needed to do it. This was her vocation, to listen and watch, to nurture and provide, all in a sea of unknowing. Let us come to Christ as his brothers and sisters, open fully to his presence and Gospel, despite our unknowing.

A reading from the holy Gospel according to  Mark 3:20-35
Jesus went home with his disciples, and such a crowd collected that they could not even have a meal.
When his relatives heard of this, they set out to take charge of him, convinced he was out of his mind.
The scribes who had come down from Jerusalem were saying,
‘Beelzebul is in him,‘ and, ‘It is through the prince of devils that he casts devils out.‘
So he called them to him and spoke to them in parables,
‘How can Satan cast out Satan?
If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot last. And if a household is divided against itself, that household can never stand. Now if Satan has rebelled against himself and is divided, he cannot stand either – it is the end of him. But no one can make his way into a strong man’s house and burgle his property unless he has tied up the strong man first. Only then can he burgle his house.
‘I tell you solemnly, all men’s sins will be forgiven, and all their blasphemies; but let anyone blaspheme against the Holy Spirit and he will never have forgiveness:
he is guilty of an eternal sin.’
This was because they were saying, ‘An unclean spirit is in him.’
His mother and brothers now arrived and, standing outside, sent in a message asking for him. A crowd was sitting round him at the time the message was passed to him, ‘Your mother and brothers and sisters are outside asking for you.‘
He replied, ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’
And looking round at those sitting in a circle about him, he said,
‘Here are my mother and my brothers.
Anyone who does the will of God, that person is my brother and sister and mother.’

The Gospel of the Lord
Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.