“Jesus went home again, and once more such a large crowd had gathered that they could not even have a meal. When his relations heard of this, they set out to take charge of him saying, “He is out of his mind.”
Here we have a vivid description of how Jesus carried out the mission entrusted to him by his Father. His whole life was dedicated to fulfilling the will of God and nothing was going to deter him from this work. He was always on mission, whether by himself or with his disciples.
And it was not only the words He spoke that attracted people to him. No, it was his charism and personality that drew people and inspired them to follow him.
Here we see Jesus at home, at home with himself, at home with his Father, at home with the large crowd that had followed him and at home with the world. Jesus was always good to be with because power went out from him, and obviously the large crowd were anxious to be with him, to listen to him, to be healed by him and to act on his words, making them their own.
Many times in the Scriptures we hear the words: “He was with his disciples” always by their side leading, affirming and challenging them. He was rarely by himself except when he went apart to pray and to be with his Father. It was He who had called and chosen his disciples, so he spent much time with them – preparing them for the time when he would no longer be with them physically.
Jesus was tireless, zealous and overworked at times, but he never neglected every opportunity He got to preach, and He was always concerned about the spiritual and physical well-being of his flock.
“He looked on his people with compassion and felt sorry for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd”.
But his mother and friends were not happy with the way he was working because He had no time to eat or rest. They were concerned about him and so deeply worried that they came “in force” to dissuade him from being too busy. But Jesus did not take their advice and continued to spend his life for the good of others. I am reminded of the time when Jesus was a young boy who went missing for three days in Jerusalem. Imagine the concern and relief at finding their son, but even then Jesus had simply answered his anxious mother and father saying:
“Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business?”
In this text today, Jesus reiterates the purpose of his life. For him, all that really mattered was that the will of his Father be carried out in the best way possible.
I know that priests and religious are not very popular these days, and terrible things have happened on various occasions. “We are all be tarred with the one brush” and sometimes it is not easy to take it. We ask forgiveness for these times, but I think we should also give credit where credit is due. I know many priests and sisters and lay people who spend their time looking after God’s people, caring for the people entrusted to their care and spreading the Good News of the Gospel. Many priests are overworked, especially those who are dedicated, not only to celebrating Mass and ministering the Sacraments – but who are also taken up with the pastoral care of their parishoners.
I was talking to a priest recently who told me that he had received a very irate telephone message from a parishoner, who accused him of “Never being at home!” Even when he told the parishoner that he had been very busy the previous week with two funeral Masses on the Monday, a wedding on the Tuesday, two funeral Masses on the Wednesday and another wedding on the Thursday, the accuser was not satisfied. He still complained: “But you are never at home!”
Like Mary, Jesus’ mother, and her friends, we also can be concerned about people who are “on the go” all the time, doing good works unceasingly and wearing themselves out in the process. We may even resort to complaining or saying: “They are out of their mind!”
At the same time we can think about ourselves, each of us individually and ask ourselves the question – how many of us could be challenged on our commitment and dedication to our mission? If someone were to ask us: “What do we do all day? What is our ministry? What is our vocation?” What would our response be?
So, on this, the tenth Sunday in Ordinary time, let us reflect on our own lives and see how we can compare with Jesus “who went from place to place doing good.” Could it be that we are so focussed on what other people are thinking and saying about us that we are in danger of neglecting our God-given mission?
“Any one who does the will of God, that person is my brother or sister or mother”. Or to put it more clearly, any one who does the will of God will be a true disciple in the family of God, in the community and in the Church.
Let us take heart and zoom in on this final sentence of the text and commit ourselves to do all that we can to so as to be visibly recogised as a follower of Jesus and a living witness to him wherever we are.
Sr. Padraigín Mc Kenna OP