Discerning Family

Today’s gospel is, in its own way, part of a thread in Mark’s gospel in which the nature of the family of God is slowly revealed.

  • In Mark 3:7-12, Jesus is calling and appointing 12 as apostles, the foundation of the family of the Church
  • In v.21, Jesus’ biological family arrives on the scene: “When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.” 
  • In v.35, we hear Jesus proclaim: “Here are my mother and my brothers. [For] whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.
  • And in between all this we have today’s gospel (vv.23-30) in which the opposition charges: “‘He is possessed by Beelzebul,’ and ‘By the prince of demons he drives out demons.’” – assigning Jesus to a family of the damned.

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Sunday’s Gospel in Context

This coming Sunday is the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time of Year C of the Lectionary. For today’s post, let us consider context. One thing that is evident when you look at this Gospel reading (Luke 4:21-30) is that the narrative really begins at v.14. As mentioned last week, it is as though the story was cut in half (last week vv.14-21) and we never got to know the reaction of the people in the synagogue. Fortunately, the story continues as Luke 4:21-30 is the Gospel reading for this Sunday. Many Lucan scholars hold that the two halves together are key and make clear the four major points in Luke’s account (Stoffregen):

  • the announcement of Jesus ministry as the fulfillment of God’s salvation-time,
  • a statement about the content of Jesus’ ministry based on the quotation from Isaiah,
  • the foreshadowing of Jesus’ final suffering and rejection,
  • the foreshadowing of the movement of the gospel from Jew to Gentile.

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