Daily Devotional for January 17
January 17 Mark 3:20-35
An old piece of folk wisdom defines the home as a place where
the hearth is. The hearth, which housed the fire, was at one
period of history the center of family life. The hearth was the
place to prepare food, to feel warmth, to have light in the
darkness. These experiences bonded the family together, both
physically and emotionally.
Several years ago the New York Times reviewed a book dealing
with emotional and physical conflicts, including violence, in
contemporary families. The writer, in a clever adaptation of
the traditional adage, titled the review "Home Is Where the
No human family, not even that of Jesus, escapes the pain that
certain misunderstandings can bring to family life. The family
of Jesus is portrayed in the Gospel as thinking him possessed
by a demon when they heard the crowd say that he was out
of his mind. How ironic that the Scribes accused him of being
possessed by evil forces! One of the strongest signs of his
making present the reign of God was his ministry of expelling
demons and breaking the bonds of evil forces that controlled
It is easy to sympathize with Jesus and feel his disappointment.
In our lives we have also felt the misunderstandings of families
- birth families, work families, church families - for one
reason or another. Yet the response of Jesus is not counter-
rejection or further alienation. He simply makes it clear that
commitment to the reign supersedes all family ties. Like Jesus,
we need family loyalty. And, like Jesus, we often find our
loyalties in other kinds of families, especially among those who
support and nourish our commitments to personal integrity.
Lord, you did not reject your own family
even though they misunderstood you. Instead, you
invited them and us to membership in that larger family
of God in which, through baptism, water is
thicker than blood.
From The Road to Emmaus - An inclusive devotional Edited by Joseph W. Houle
Emmaus House of Prayer - Washington D.C.