CAMINANDO WITH JESUS: Walking in the Works of Jesus
The crowd came together again, so that Jesus and his disciples could not even eat. When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, “He has gone out of his mind.” And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He has Beelzebul, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons.” And he called them to him, and spoke to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but his end has come. But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his property without first tying up the strong man; then indeed the house can be plundered.
“Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— for they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.”
Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.” And he replied, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”
- Mark 3:20-35
In the context of our walking with Jesus through our life, this text says to me that we are going to have challenges. These challenges will come from many directions: people in general, our families and ourselves. As we reflect on this Gospel, it may be helpful to remember watching a young child learning to walk. It is difficult work. It takes a great deal of effort and many tries. And, little by little, there is success.
It is important to remember we have to eat for this walk. The meal of the walk is the Eucharist – the gathering of the Body of Christ to participate in the holy meal and receive the food of Christ for nurturing and strengthening us for the walk. This walk is also a way of daily conversation with the Father through the Son in the Holy Spirit. God feeds our body, soul and mind with the Eucharist and in our holy conversation (our prayer) with God.
During our walk with Jesus, we shall encounter difficult challenges that will sometimes hurt us. We shall suffer for and with Jesus. People will think and say things that are not true, that are bad. Some people will work against us. As was Jesus, we shall be confronted because we seek to live our baptismal vows. The public arena is dangerous, and we must be strong in our faith, our commitment to Jesus, and always open to the Holy Spirit.
It is the Holy Spirit, with whom we are sealed at our baptism, who strengthens us for our walk with Jesus. It is also very important to remember that the Spirit is the spirit of truth. In this story, the blasphemy is calling the work of Jesus and the Spirit the work of Satan, of the demons. The scribes, in effect, said that Jesus was not who he said he was. Therefore, he was a lie, and, therefore, the Holy Spirit also was a lie. And so, by implication, they also called God a lie, which was to deny God. Their goal was to put an end to Jesus and his work, his walking with us.
But the walk with Jesus continues in and through us. We know Jesus, now the Risen Christ, is the way, the truth and the life. We are prepared and fed by Christ, and we are sent by the Holy Spirit into the world to love and serve the Lord.
In this story, we see Jesus in the real world. For him, as for us, this world receives and accepts and hears and sees and rejects the Good News. We live in a world where the true and the false are confused, where it is very difficult to discern the difference between them. So, it is essential for us to know and practice the truth of the Gospel, to know the Triune God, to know that all people are the beloved of God. In Jesus, we are the people of the truth.
Especially now, this is the moment to stand in the truth and for the truth in the power of the Holy Spirit and the love, compassion and mercy of God. Now is the time to speak the truth to one another. Now is the time to do the words of St. Francis of Assisi: “Always proclaim the Gospel and when necessary, use words.”
Especially now, I think this Gospel opens for us both the harsh realities of our day as well as opportunities for creativity and hope. The question is, “What are we going to do?”
As we continue our walking with Jesus, now is the time for us to be the hands, the eyes, the ears, the feet and the voice of God in the world. Now is the time for us to walk with all God’s beloved who are outcast and marginalized, to feed the hungry, to clothe those in need, to shelter those who need shelter. Now is the time to seek ways to work with and through the systems of our society and to identify the ways and systems that do not work in order to create new ways, new systems, for justice and the care of God’s beloved in our time. Now is the time to participate in building systems of education, healthcare, job training, employment and justice.
Now is the time to remember all this real work – as much and as great as it is – is possible, with God’s help. Now is the time to live the truth that we are all one body in Christ; all are the beloved of God through the Son in the Spirit. Now is the time for us to continue to walk with one another in the Holy Spirit with Jesus. Now is the time for us to continue to walk with Jesus who is the way, the truth and the life.
The Rt. Rev. William O. Gregg, Ph.D., is the VI Bishop of Eastern Oregon, resigned, and the Bishop Assistant of North Carolina, retired.
Tags: Caminando with Jesus