As Jesus began his ministry, the people didn’t know exactly what to make of him. He was interesting enough that he would draw crowds around him. So much so that it was even hard to find room and time to eat. Some thought that he should be restrained because it seemed to them that he was possessed by a demon.
Throughout scripture, there are many examples of how divided loyalty is not possible. For example, you can’t serve God and money or in this week’s Gospel, a kingdom or a house divided against itself cannot stand. The divided loyalties will destroy it.
As I reflect on this, as a nation we are reflecting on the lives lost in war this Memorial Day. As a nation, we have had times when war brought the nation together. Many point to the attack on Pearl Harbor as a moment that brought the nation together to fight a common purpose. The Vietnam War was a dividing force in our nation because the common purpose didn’t seem quite as clear. In both cases, and in many other wars, many died in the fight for freedom for our nation and for our world. This sacrifice should not be forgotten.
Currently, we are a nation divided. You can pick almost any topic on any given day and you will quickly see that not everyone agrees. It’s true in politics and sadly it’s true in the church as well. Whenever the lines get blurred between nation and religion, we can easily become a house divided. Jesus is expanding the definition of family. He is pushing past the biological lines and redefining what unites this new community. This new community is family because it does the will of God. For the next several months, we are in what the church refers to as “ordinary time.” This time is meant to be our training for what it means to follow Jesus. This time is meant to shape the church into the body of Christ.
In this time, our challenge is to see the things that unite us. Listen to scripture for the moments of clarity and purpose. Focus on what God has done and is doing in our midst. So that our house, our congregation, the church builds on unity. This isn’t easy work since we are bombarded by what makes us different. Instead, let us focus on the things we have in common most importantly the things we have in common with Jesus. He is the one who continually reveals to us the will of God. So as family, we can stand united.