|MARK 3:20-35 By Gary Tagallie - Jun 10|
|2012 - Gospel Meditation|
|Saturday, 09 June 2012 20:48|
The readings for this Sunday invite us to reflect on sin and evil, how sin and evil came into the world and how as human beings we deal with sin and evil. Today’s gospel reminds us that evil in all its manifestations must be confronted even at the risk of being confused with Satan or even being called crazy by those closest to us.
We live in a world of great cynicism. We often question acts of selflessness and love, in distrust, and label them “disingenuine”, scams. If someone gives a generous donation to a good cause we wonder why, question where they got the money. If someone gives of their time freely to some cause, caring for HIV/AIDS patients, “vagrants”, we wonder if they are “crazy” or want something in return. When someone dares to confront the status quo with the truth, to stand up against certain injustices, they leave themselves vulnerable to scorn and rejection, even persecution by those less courageous. This was precisely the situation in today’s gospel.
Jesus went home again, and once more such a crowd collected that they could not even have a meal.
So we can reflect on persons we have encountered who have taken risks, even the greatest risk of death to stand up for truths and against unjust social, economic, political and environmental systems. These people have drawn great crowds to them and often do not have time for themselves, like Jesus, not even to eat. Maybe we ourselves have taken up such causes and have experienced the “crowds” who are looking towards us for support, healing, representation, a listening ear, guidance.
The scribes who had come down from Jerusalem were saying, ‘Beelzebul is in him.’ and, ‘It is through the prince of devils that he casts devils out.’
Archbishop Romero, the “bishop of the poor” was assassinated in 1980 because he took an active option for the poor and marginalised in El Slavador – he was even ridiculed and condemned for challenging the politico-socio-economic status quo. Martin Luther King challenged the institution of racism in the US. He was also assassinated. Liu Xiaobo, 2010 Nobel Peace Prize, human rights activist who called for political reforms and the end of communist single-party rule in China is currently incarcerated as a political prisoner in his country.
Locally, I could think of some of our social activists, some local government councillors, a few politicians, many NGO/CBO leaders who have worked tirelessly in the service of their fellowman and whose integrity may have been called into question but who have been able to stay the course at great personal cost.
If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot last. And if a household is divided against itself, that household can never stand.
Jesus responds with a commonsense parable yet deep and full of meaning.
Mandela had a great task of uniting South Africa when he became President in 1994. The story of the 1994 Rugby World Cup, reflected in the movie Invictus, reminds me of how great leaders understand this parable and work towards keeping nations together.
"They booed me!" Mandela recalled, chuckling only long after the event. "My own people, they booed me when I stood before them, urging them to support the Springboks!" Mandela, at great sacrifice, used a strategy of inclusion and embracing and uniting the black and whites to avoid all out war and mayhem in South Africa after the fall of apartheid and the start of his Presidency.
How relevant is this saying in our present socio-political scenario; where a few persons are, by their words and actions are creating divisions in our society - racial strife and political discord; where communities are divided because of political allegiances; where families are divided because of land issues, or unfaithfulness, differences in values.
Lord, we pray for great leaders in our time who have confronted sin and evil – unjust social and political structures, who have worked tirelessly on community projects, promoting unity in our communities and country,
They have done this at great risk – not being able to have a meal at times, rejection by family and confused with the one who does evil
In the face of evil and sin console and strengthen us with the knowledge that anyone who does your will “that person is my brother and sister and mother”.
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