Saturday, January 26, 2008

Saturday word, 26 Jan 2008

Ss. Timothy & Titus (26 Jan 2008) Ti 1. 1-5; Ps 96; Mk 3. 20-21
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Campaign Madness--Jesus’ Style

As we know, the daily lectionary groups readings by days of the week of the liturgical year, not by dates. So when January 26 falls on different days, we hear different gospel selections on the Memorial of Ss. Timothy and Titus.

Today’s gospel selection is two verses. The first reminds us what was typical early on: a crowd gathered, making it impossible for them even to eat. Our knee-jerk reaction may align with a rock-star or rising politician: we recognize one aspect of Jesus to be his charisma, his people-magnetism. The second verse doesn’t let us run with our first--perhaps only?--image of Jesus: When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him, for they said,“He is out of his mind.”

Because Jesus attracted crowds, his relatives said, “He is out of his mind.” We are still hearing the third chapter of Mark's gospel at daily mass, and already we know: religious professionals opposed him; crowds acknowledged him; his own people didn’t know what to make of him. Did they fear that if he hung around the many demon-possessed that Jesus’ kingdom-campaigning was also demon-possessed and not just his misplaced feelings?

The Greek word we translate with to seize has other connotations. In this context to restrain, to hinder, to repress come to mind. Fearing for Jesus’ well-being lest he, too, become possessed and so they wouldn’t suffer embarrassment, we can feel with his people the need to keep Jesus from his path and to repress his kingdom-capaigning.

Yet you and I know Jesus had only that mission and life. Do we live what we know? Do we live confident that we are God’s children, and like Timothy and Titus, children of St. Paul and all the apostles? The world needs us to live what we know: Jesus’ existed to proclaim the kingdom and enlists us to continue his mission.

Many people live as though God were not truthful nor makes good God’s promises. A life of faith takes to heart God, who does not lie, as St. Paul encouraged Titus. St. Paul, like Jesus, relied on his children in faith to draw on their imaginations and to risk making Jesus better known by the ways they live. To fail to do otherwise is indeed madness, and we count on each other to restrain us from giving into it.
Wiki-image of the Book of Durrow and its beginning of Mark's gospel is in the public domain.

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