Personal to the Core

The Nazareth Page

A gospel meditation for your home

June 9th, 2024 Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time -Mark 3:20-35


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Perhaps one of the most astonishing aspects of the public life of Jesus was how he related to people he met each day. He was friendly, engaging and he didn’t seem to have favorites. His connecting with others was not prejudicial or judgmental. His interests were personal to the core and certainly not political. This bothered many religious people of his time. Their criticism might be summarized in their observation that he even ate with sinners and tax collectors. In those days one’s dinner companions were a quick way to make judgments about others, whether they were good people or perhaps not.

Todays’ gospel recalls an incident when Jesus was visiting places likely near his hometown of Nazareth. A crowd had gathered that eventually included his mother and brothers. This latter reference might be a reference to his extended family. In the customs of that time, it would be assumed that Jesus would want to excuse himself from “the crowd” and pay primary attention to this family who had recently arrived to where he was.

Surprisingly, he seems to ignore their presence and makes a point that everyone who does God’s will is his family. Please don’t read this as a snub of his biological family. He’s simply saying that he is close to all.

That is because he comes as one who not only teaches about God’s love for all, but he lives that value day after day. And in some circles of his time (and ours) this would be considered inappropriate, even irreligious. In fact, toward the end of his public life, it would be one of the reasons he was crucified. The powerful of the day viewed him as a potential danger to their status and rule, both political and religious.

Thoughtful followers of Jesus in our time should reflect on this gospel account as a reminder of how God’s ways do not always equate with our own. It is difficult to read the daily newspaper, watch TV or consult the internet and not read about the depth of division that seems one of the major realities of our time. It’s happening around the world. It’s even a major part of contemporary religious life.

But is this the way Jesus related to those he encountered, especially after he began his public ministry? In his encounter with the woman at the well, with Zacchaeus in Jericho, even with Judas, the one who directly betrayed him? And let’s not forget Peter who denied him three times. His love was without limit. Is mine? Is yours?


   David M. Thomas, PhD     

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