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Staging an Intervention

In Sunday’s Gospel lesson, Jesus’ family tries to stage an intervention. He has been challenging conventional wisdom a bit too much, and, finally, the religious authorities pronounce him possessed by the devil/evil/Beelzebub. His mother, brothers, and sisters seem inclined to agree with them because they come to take him home.

Don’t you have relatives who think the same thing about you? My conservative family in South Georgia is utterly convinced I’ve gone off the deep end. How could a liberal come out of the pine forests of Southeast Georgia? And the gay stuff? Sheesh!

Like you, I suspect, I love my family. We don’t live in the same world when it comes to politics, theology, child rearing, cultural values, national security, gun control, the environment, and almost ANY other topic you can name. Still, I love them. They think I’ve been taken over by a demon of liberalism, or homosexuality, or the Democratic Party or …. While that isn’t literally true it might as well be.

What was it Jesus was doing or teaching that made his family think he had “lost it”? Was it his relentless critique of economic inequality, which suggested that a camel could pass through a needle before the rich would live under the Realm of God? Like us, they lived in an era in which the rich were envied, and treated like the winners or the chosen ones. Jesus seemed to think that, if that was true, they had gotten all the reward they deserved. Today, that would be called the demon of “Socialism.”

Perhaps it was Jesus healing people that sent them over the edge. After all, he acted like health and healing was a human right, not a product to be sold. Try repudiating profit and capitalism and advocating for free healthcare for all, and see how long it takes before they want to put you in a home.

Jesus loved his family, but they didn’t agree with, or approve of, him. He seemed perfectly okay with that. In the Gospel lesson, he points to those who followed him, lived with him, believed as he did, and he called them his family. It doesn’t mean that he didn’t love his mother … what kind of Jewish boy do you think he was?!?



Rev. Michael Piazza

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