Saturday, January 26, 2013

He Is Out Of His Mind

I confess to doing a double-take when I heard today's Gospel.  Normally, I do not read the Gospel from my Magnificat while the priest proclaims it from the pulpit, but given the priest and my level of  surprise, I found myself quickly thumbing through my little missal just to make sure no liberties were being taken.  None were.  This really was the Gospel from Mark (3:21)

I thought of Bernadette, smearing her face with the dirt from the grotto in Lourdes and eating the plants as she was directed by the Blessed Virgin Mary and being lead home by her distressed mother, mortified by her daughter's actions and the mockery of the crowd.  I thought of Joan of Arc, doing as the voice of God directed, despite much derision from the learned and unlearned alike.  I thought of Magdalene of Nagasaki, turning herself into to civil authorities, knowing it meant a certain and torturous death.

The priest, in his homily, gave the examples of Gandhi urging his countrymen not to fight back as the imperialists mercilessly beat them, and of the young man in Tienanmen Square who stood up the Communist tanks with nothing more than his will and resolve not to submit to evil.  Then he reminded us of Christ, going to His bloody and barbarous death to redeem a lot of ungrateful and unbelieving sinners.

Was He out of His mind?  Are we?

By the world's measure, yes, but it is a good thing in the sight of God.

No one ever changed the world by doing what the world expected.  The most profound and long-lasting impact has always come from the unexpected. A maiden visited by an angel and asked to bear the Messiah.  A King born in a stable.  The Son of God nailed to a cross.  A poor uneducated peasant girl privileged to view with her own eyes the Holy Mother of God.  A teenage girl leading men in battle.  A young woman of only 24 sacrificing her life for love of Him Who died for her and for us.  A man about to go to His death healing the ear of a servant of one of His executioners.

Christ told His apostles in the upper room that He gave them His peace, not as the world gives but as only He can, and He advised them not to let their hearts be troubled or to be afraid.

I have seen recently where some bloggers have used Luke's Gospel (22:35-38)  to justify arming themselves.  There are many interpretations of Christ's admonition to His disciples to buy a sword.  Immediately before this, He asks them if they lacked anything when He sent them out into the world in pairs to preach but forbade them from taking anything with them. Their answer was no, they lacked nothing.   My own interpretation is that He is reminding them here that He has never let them down and always kept His word.  But knowing that they are going to be tested in a way unlike any trial they've experienced to date, He is telling them He understands if they give in to weakness at this time and rely on worldly means of reassurance, given what is about to transpire.  Does He not rebuke Peter for cutting off the servant's ear?

Was Our Lord out of His mind?  Maybe to the world, but certainly not to anyone who takes His words and His teachings to heart.

While doing a Google search of Luke's Holy Thursday Gospel, I came across the following excerpt from a Christmas play written by St. Therese for her Carmelite community in 1894.

Have you forgotten, Jesus, O Beauty supreme, that the sinner

must at last be punished? I will chastise the crime in judgment;

I want to exterminate all the ungrateful. My sword is ready!

Jesus, sweet victim! My sword is ready!! I am set to avenge


And the baby Jesus replies:

O beautiful angel! Put down your sword.

It is not for you to judge the nature that I raise up and that I

wish to redeem.

The one who will judge the world is myself, the one named


The life-giving dew of my Blood will purify all my chosen ones.

Don’t you know that faithful souls always give me consolation

in the face of the blasphemies of the unfaithful by a simple look

of love?


  1. Isn't it amazing how no matter how often we read the Gospels and listen to them at mass, there is always something that you do a double take and say how come I didn't see that before? I just did a double take too when I looked it up. Good homily, especially yours Joyce.

  2. Thanks Manny. Interesting how different versions of the Bible interpret that last line. In the Douay-Rheims version, it is "He has gone mad". Means the same thing I guess.

  3. Angela of Foligno loved that passage - he is out of his mind.

    1. I didn't know that Terry, thanks!


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