Saturday of the Second Week of Ordinary Time – Odd Year of the Fair

Posté par diaconos le 23 janvier 2021

Jesus walks with His disciples and says to them,"Take up his cross and follow me."

Jésus and his disciples

The people at home said : He has lost his head

# The Church considers that she is in the image of Jesus and is therefore herself a sign of contradiction, which like Christ encounters opposition everywhere (Acts, 28, 22). The same reasoning applies to its members. According to Tradition, most of the apostles of the group of twelve died violent deaths, executed because of their faith: Peter, Andrew, Philip, all three crucified, Matthew, Jude, James of Zebedee, Bartholomew, Thomas and Simon the Zealot. Similarly, the first saints were martyrs.

The early Christians, considered a pernicious sect by several authorities of the Roman Empire, were met with strong opposition. They were sometimes accused of being cannibals (because they ate « the Body of Christ ») or atheists (because they did not honour the Roman gods). Nero made them scapegoats, and his successors looked upon them with suspicion. Tertullian indicated: « They are useless, your most refined cruelties. They are rather an attraction for our sect. Religious men and women, by their particular way of life, become, according to Pope Benedict XVI, a sign of contradiction for the world, whose logic is often inspired by materialism, selfishness and individualism.

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Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark

At that time Jesus returned home, where the crowd gathered again, so that it was not even possible to eat. The people from his house, hearing of it, came to take hold of him, for they said  : « He has lost his head. «   (Mk 3, :20-21)

Jesus faces opposition from his own people and the scribes

As Jesus was engaged in a devouring activity, word spread that he had lost his mind. His own people came to stop him. The scribes from Jerusalem declared him demon-possessed and claimed that he cast out demons through the prince of the demons. Jesus refuted this accusation with a series of similarities. It was absurd: a divided kingdom, a divided house cannot exist. If Satan were to fight himself, his reign would soon come to an end.

When those who were close to Jesus heard this, they went out to seize him, saying, « He is out of sense », and they could hear his surroundings. But this expression most often means parents, the family, so we could say : his own. This was the meaning that most of the interpreters gave to this word, and they directly related it to the account of the following verses, which Mark alone introduced and motivated, while Matthew and Luke reported it following Jesus’ speech, without any link to it or indication of the reason for this intervention.

His parents, having learned that he was constantly overburdened with excessive work, went out to take him. Where did they come from ? Perhaps from Nazareth, because the situation described had been going on for some time and the news may have reached Nazareth; perhaps they came out of their home in Capernaum, where they may have settled at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry : « After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother, brothers and disciples, and they stayed there for only a few days. »

But why did they want to take him? Their own words revealed their intention; for they said : « He is out of sense. » This was the conclusion they drew from the activity that Jesus was doing and from his self-imposed fatigue, and they wanted to take him out of the crowd to give him rest. This appreciation and conduct on the part of Jesus’ brothers is understandable, because they did not believe in him.

But Mary judged Jesus no better than the scribes, and Mark seemed to have deliberately brought this to pass. More than one critic hastened to the conclusion that the accounts of Matthew, chapters 1 and 2, and Luke, chapters 1 and 2, were not reliable. On the other hand, various attempts were made not to impute to Mary such an opinion about her first-born son.

Those who were close to Jesus were some of his listeners, men from his usual entourage who followed him into the house. Seeing him harassed by the crowd, who kept asking for him in the vicinity of the house, they went out to take him and bring him in. The thought they expressed about Jesus would not be inadmissible in this moment of religious effervescence. It is arbitrary to say that the authors of this unfavourable judgement were Jesus’ brothers, to the exclusion of his mother, because Mary was represented to us as being associated with the steps of Jesus’ brothers.

Deacon Michel Houyoux

Links to other Christian websites

◊ Answers to questions  :  click here to read the paper →  Give reasons why Jesus faced opposition from the Pharisees and the scribes

◊ Aleteia    :  click here to read the paper → Who were the Pharisees and why did Jesus oppose them

Jesus – Woe to you, Pharisees, you hypocrites

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