“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 3:31-35 NRSV
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
In the final verses of this Sunday’s Gospel, we can imagine the frustration of Jesus’ mother and his siblings over how he is behaving. In the Gospel of Mark, this scene is early in his ministry. In chapter one, Mark begins with John the Baptist, and when he is imprisoned, quickly moves to Jesus coming to Galilee and proclaiming the good news. Jesus gathers his disciples in a number of different short vignettes and heals people who were sick or possessed with demons. Both chapters two and three mention Jesus going home. In the first reference (Mark 2:1), there were so many people gathered around his doorway that they removed the roof of his house in order to let down a paralytic for healing. His family must have loved that! And in the third chapter (Mark 3:19-20) it says that he went home, “and the crowd came together so that they could not even eat.” Jesus has become an overnight sensation. Everyone is seeking him out for his wisdom and powers of healing. His family thinks he is crazy.
And so, his family calls to him, and he does not come. They want him to return to his former life. Rather than honoring his mother (one of the ten commandments!), he asks the crowd who is his mother and his brothers? And then pointing to them—these dear people who understand his identity much better than his family—Jesus says, “This is my family.” He includes all of us who are doing the will of God. We are Jesus’s family of choice.
Our fourth class of “Via Media” (“The Middle Way”) is on Monday evening, June 11th from 7 – 8:30 p.m. in the Library (enter through the door closest to the Guild Room). If you are struggling with your faith, the Bible, doctrine, and/or the Episcopal Church, this is a safe place to explore and ask questions. The other classes in this course are on June 25, July 9 and 23 and September 10. This is also preparation for adults who are interested in Confirmation, Reception or Reaffirmation with Bishop Mary Glasspool in September. Please let me know if you are coming (firstname.lastname@example.org; 914 969 2969).
Looking ahead, our next Vestry Meeting will be a retreat led by Canon Claudia Wilson on Saturday, June 30th from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. in the Guild Room. Our Farmers’ and Flea Market begins again on Thursday, July 5th from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you would like to help out, please contact George Morrison. Also, please put Sunday, September 23rd on your calendar. This will be a great day in our congregation as we rejoice in our 325th anniversary as a parish! We need much help with advertising and planning. Please let me know if you can help out!
Our biological family may not understand us, but Jesus does. We are called to be Christ’s family on earth, Jesus’s brothers and sisters in Getty Square. May we have the courage to be as outrageous as Jesus was in proclaiming the kingdom of God here and now!
Blessings and love,
The Reverend Canon Victoria Sirota