Today is Saturday, January 20th. In this reflection I would like to offer some observations about the First Reading and the Gospel and, perhaps, draw a connection between them. In the First Reading, we see David returning victorious from the battlefield. It is likely that he was filled with joy and pride and was on a “high”. However, three days later a fellow soldier returns from a different battlefield beaten and battered with devastating news – King Saul and his son Jonathan, whom David loved like a brother, have been killed in battle. The joy from three days ago, and the celebratory mood is radically changed and David enters a period of mourning, weeping and fasting. So, it is with our lives. We are riding high, things are good, we are joy-filled … then the news arrives of the death or sickness of a family member or friend we love dearly. We are devastated!
In the Gospel, from Mark, Jesus returns home and his friends set out to seize him. They believe that He is out of His mind. Why? The first three chapters of the Gospel of Mark begin with the baptism of Jesus, the beginning of His public ministry, His healings of many people, His casting out of unclean spirits, His calling of a tax collector and His challenging of the authorities regarding fasting and the sabbath. What Jesus is doing is counter-cultural. Jesus, therefore, must be possessed or out of His mind.
In pondering these readings, here is the connection I see. Our culture today is not comfortable with suffering, mourning and death. Our modern society wants to keep it at a distance. Our culture does not want to embrace it, we want to sanitize it not be made unclean by it. Our culture wants us to acknowledge another’s suffering or loss, but a text or a call or a card seems to be enough.
Perhaps we would be considered “out of our mind” if we embrace our own grief and suffering, make it visible to others instead of hiding it from view. Perhaps we would be considered “out of our mind” if we actually let others touch our woundedness and minister to us in our grief.
Perhaps we would be considered “out of our mind” if we actually sit at the foot of another’s cross WITH THEM. Perhaps we would be considered “out of our mind” if we accompany people during a health crisis or in their journey through grief. Perhaps we would be considered “out of our mind” if we went beyond a call or a card and prepared a meal or ran some errands for them or invited them to the adoration chapel or Mass or out for coffee.
Perhaps being considered “out of our mind” is a blessing not a curse; a calling not a cross?
Perhaps it is time for us to be counter-cultural like Jesus was!