Homily of Sunday 10 June 2018, 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time, B:
Jesus the contradiction
In the Gospel, we see Jesus on the one hand being accused of being out of his mind and on the other hand he is accused of being possessed by the chief of demons known as Beelzebub. Jesus for so many people is a sign of Contradiction. For example, in our world people are used to revenge, violence, wickedness, Jesus however uses passages which we do not normally want to hear like : “turn the other cheek” or “love your enemies”. In today’s world, power and riches determine our respect and consideration for people; people are more comfortable following those with power and influence rather than the meek and humble. It is in this world that Jesus teaches: Blessed are the Poor in Spirit, Blessed are the meek and humble. In such a context it is easy for people to say, he is out of his mind.
While we are used to hearing and using the expression, Blood is thicker than water, Jesus tells us today that the waters of baptism are thicker than the blood of family. He constitutes a new family not based only on biological affinities but on being children of God.
Jesus lived in a context where charlatans used magical powers to perform miracles. We now understand why the Jews and authorities of his day thought he was possessed by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons. In Today’s Gospel the authenticity of the power of Jesus is being questioned. With the new style of ministry brought by Jesus, we see that he is clearly on his way to a head-on collision with the religious establishment who were the the gatekeepers for orthodox Jewish faith and practice.
The same contradictions which some people see in Jesus can be applied to those of us who are his followers. I can imagine the people who want to always do good and keep on having nicknames attached. In some contexts bribery and corruption are the order of the day. In so far as you are giving and receiving bribe, you are considered a “normal” person. The moment you decide to be honest and avoid corruption people start asking you: are you normal? Are you out of your mind? Many will not understand why you should be going to church so often, keeping your prayer moment. They will ask you : are you the new Virgin Mary we have? Etc.
The Gospel of today teaches us that we should be attached to Jesus and learn from him. The Beelzebub today is found in each and everyone of us. In some cases due to intellectualism, we dismiss any divine intervention in our lives seeing it as mere coincidence. In other cases, we discourage and mock at those who want to be attached to Christ. We cannot be for him and be against him. If we are far from him, then we are in a divided kingdom. If we are with him, then we are one with him. Let us not be afraid of doing good even if many around us are doing the wrong thing.
Jude Thaddeus Langeh, cmf
Please pray for me