Saturday, January 23, 2010

"He is out of his mind"

The Gospel reading at today's Mass tells us that Our Lord's relatives thought this about Him. In a way, can you blame them? He hasn't been around Nazareth for a while, his carpenter shop has been empty, even his mother walks around a bit sad that her son is gone. Add to that the fact that they're hearing stories about Jesus: he expelled an evil spirit, he healed a man paralyzed, he's bouncing from village to village and sees himself as some sort of Rabbi (he learned to be a craftsman from his father; they don't remember him being sent off to apprentice with a Rabbi). Plus, he went out and got himself new friends: some fishermen, ok, but a member of the Zealot party? A TAX COLLECTOR? Seriously, can you blame them?

If you're a Priest, no doubt you've heard the "out of his mind" line said about you, usually right after phrases like: "What do you mean we have to go to Mass every Sunday?", "Why won't you allow my brother to be a Godparent? He's a better Wiccan than he ever was a Catholic!", "Why can't we play my father's favorite song at his funeral Mass? He loved Pink Floyd".

If you're a seminarian, you probably heard the line the first time you told your family you were thinking about becoming a Priest. You probably used it more than a few times when you met your confreres and teachers in the seminary. And, it was probably said about you in evaluations when you asked your summer assignment pastor why he doesn't preach about contraception around the anniversary of Humanae Vitae?

If you're a Catholic husband or wife, you're spoken of in this way when you go anywhere in public with more than two children. Our culture congratulates you when you have one child, accepts the fact that you have two children (you had one of one sex and you were either successful or not in having one of the other sex), and begins to question you when you have more than two.

Congratulations, you're in good company.

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