Read Mark 3: 20 - 35
Jesus came home with his disciples. Again the crowd gathered, making it impossible for them even to eat. Read More…
Meet Sister Nina Vandamme
Nina Vandamme was born in Antwerp in Belgium: she entered the Sisters of Notre Dame at the 8th of September 1967. Read More…
Who among us has not had that feeling after a busy day of, “Alright, time to go home, have something to eat, and just relax”? Jesus had that feeling too. But just at that moment a crowd presses towards Him and will not let Him go, for their heads are bursting with all they’ve seen and heard. Everybody’s talking about it.
You need to be on the ball, for you hear many different opinions coming out of a crowd. Am I able to take a critical attitude so that I can separate the chaff from the corn? The Gospel story points to many different opinions. That’s not a problem as such, but if the spirit of jealousy, power, suspicion, and honour gains the upper hand, stories are told that slander the others, belittle them, and even turn them into children of hell. This happens to Jesus – He is made a scapegoat: “He’s out of his mind, possessed by Beelzebub.”
The One who shows us what it is to be Human is thus “a person to be avoided at all costs” for ... He is possessed by the devil! But isn’t it the crowd itself – or part of it – that is possessed by the devil?
How do I respond when I’m in a crowd?
Jesus shows no resistance – to the contrary! Instead, he tells a parable to clarify what is going on. He wants to demonstrate what evil results whenever people sow division. Division is destructive. Don’t we see this happening on every level of social life – community, family, parish, city, country, world? The saying “Divide and conquer” still holds true. And isn’t this precisely the opposite of what Jesus urges us to do? Division shatters things, destroys them! What is my role – as a human being – here? Do I sow unity or division? What – in my innermost being – motivates me?
Jesus is clear: we all slip up – every last one of us. But the Father, who is merciful, is always ready to forgive. There is only one sin that can’t be forgiven: the sin against the Holy Spirit – if I consciously act contrary to all insights the Gospel has given me, if I make the other a child of hell, or absolutely refuse to help build up God’s kingdom.
The hostile spirit even wants to turn Jesus’ relatives against him. And here as well Jesus is the one who remains calm and level-headed. He makes it clear with a glance and a word that it’s finally a question of my ‘deeds’: Do I live as God wants me to live? Do I live a life of ‘love’ realized in concrete deeds? That is, in the end, what God desires. Only then can I truly be one of Jesus’ kin.
For reflection: How do I act in a group? Am I a divisive or a unifying force? What am I focused on? Do I open myself to the leading of the Gospel? Do I go along with the crowd, or do I dare to go against it? Do I dare, with all respect for other opinions, say that I have a different view of things? Do I dare admit that I belong to the group who listens to Jesus, who wants to love as God desires?