10th Sunday in Ordinary Time (10 June 2018)
Gen 3:9-15; Ps 130; 2 Cor 4:13-5:1; Mk 3:20-35
Theme: Following Jesus
'Due to circumstances beyond our control we are using a Sunday Reading commentary previously published in 2012
We see Jesus today so busy ministering to people that he and his disciples could not even eat. The previous verses and chapters of Mark (see Mk 1 and 2) give us a good view of his whereabouts. He had just appointed the twelve (Mk 3:13-19) and he is going around healing people of various sicknesses, driving out demons and preaching. In the episode we are reading, Jesus went home and two groups of people catch our attention. These are groups we would rather not identify with because of their negative reaction to Jesus - his “family” who “went out to restrain him” and the scribes from Jerusalem who say “he has Beelzebul.” Let us take a good look at these two groups, Jesus’ family and the scribes from Jerusalem. Who are they? What were they thinking? What were they feeling?
First, his family, did they misunderstand Jesus? Elizabeth Johnson thinks otherwise. She says “It might just be the case that they understood him only too well and sought to forestall what they saw as inevitably disastrous consequences. Parents whose children take risks to follow their dream in dangerous situations know the feelings well: the fear, the pride, the effort to protect” (Johnson, 220). Imagine a member of your family volunteering to become one of the UN observers in Syria. Would you not want to restrain him or her also? His family truly cared about Jesus. It is out of concern for him that they wanted to restrain him.
Now, we turn our attention on the scribes. “The scribes were the copyists and teachers of the Law…they were looked up as living models to be followed” (latter-rain.com). This is a group that I think really listened to Jesus. They observed him and tried to understand who he was. To use a modern term, they were seriously discerning. It was important for them to make a very careful discernment of Jesus because people will follow their example. At the end, they said he had an unclean spirit. We can attest to how difficult it is to discern. St. Ignatius had to give his followers many rules. Fr. William Barry says that Ignatius noted “how the evil spirit cloaks himself as an angel of light to those who have advanced a bit in their journey into a deeper intimacy with God” (see Ignatian Spirituality.com). The point is, given our own experience of discernment, it is not difficult to imagine how and why the scribes made a mistake in their discernment about Jesus.
In the above discussion we see that Jesus’ family and the scribes are not that bad. They were the people who truly loved Jesus or who genuinely wanted to make sense of him. They were not merely interested in the benefits of his ministry. Seen from their respective contexts, we see the reasonableness of their reactions to Jesus. As we see the reasonableness of their reactions, we also begin to have a better appreciation of how radical the call to follow Jesus was. We hear him say to us, I may not make sense to you but I am calling you to follow me anyway. I know you love me and your concern makes it really difficult to understand my mission but I am calling you to be with me anyway. Do we have what it takes to say yes? Paul, himself a teacher of the Law, tells us not to lose heart. In the midst of difficulties, he models for us one who said “Yes.”
For Reflection and Discussion:  Contemplate on today’s gospel story imagining yourself as a member of Jesus’ family and/or as one of the scribes. Share with your havruta partner.  In today’s first reading, we hear the familiar story of the Fall but we know that sin is not the end of the story, it is God’s forgiveness which the psalmist celebrates in Ps. 130. This Jesus who calls us to a radical following of him is the incarnation of YHWH, the forgiving God. Let us reflect and share on this truth.
Bibliography: Johnson, Elizabeth. Truly Our Sister. Continuum, New York. 2003; Barry, SJ, William.
“The Devil Comes Cloaked as an Angel of Light” in http://ignatianspirituality.com; Information about
Scribes from http://latter-rain.com
This week’s teaching commentary was prepared by
Sr. Merle I. Salazar, FDNSC, IFRS, Philippines, Bat Kol 2007
firstname.lastname@example.org [Copyright © 2012]
PLEASE NOTE: The weekly Gospel commentaries represent the research and creative thought of their authors, and are meant to stimulate deeper thinking about the meaning of the Sunday Scriptures. While they draw upon the study methods and sources employed by the Bat Kol Institute, the views and conclusions expressed in these commentaries are solely those of their authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of Bat Kol. Questions, comments and feedback are always welcome.
Bat Kol Institute for Jewish Studies, Jerusalem
“Christians Studying the Bible within its Jewish milieu, using Jewish Sources.”
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