Finding wholeness through Jesus

Reflecting on our Sunday Readings with the Editor

Jun 07, 2024

10th Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)
Readings: Genesis 3:9-15;
2 Corinthians 4:13 – 5:1;
Gospel: Mark 3:20-35

I remember a friend, who was a CEO in a multi-national company, once telling me that his greatest fear was that someday he would be found out. “What do you mean?” I asked. “That they will know I’m not who I say I am; that I’m not who I want them to think I am; that I’m not who I want to be,” he answered. He was barely holding it together, professionally and in his personal life, because the pressure of being ‘in charge’ and ‘holding it all together’ was just getting a bit too much for him. Beneath his fear, he knew there were cracks in his facade. He understood that a divided house cannot stand and a divided kingdom will crumble.

From the beginning of His ministry, as told by St Mark, Jesus has been dealing with divided houses and kingdoms. He cast out demons, healed Peter’s mother-in-law, cleansed a leper, and enabled a paralytic to walk. The lives of these people were divided. The strong man had invaded their homes. Their lives were not their own; they lived with inner conflict and turmoil.

Separated from their community and everything that gave them security and identity, their outer conditions of illness, paralysis, and possession mirrored their inner conflict -  the battle between health and disease, not just physically but, more importantly, spiritually.

This battle and interior conflict have been present since Adam and Eve separated themselves from God and hid among the trees of the garden. It is seen in Israel’s desire for a king to be like other nations, forgetting its unique calling - to be different, to act as God’s chosen people for the benefit of all.

This division and inner conflict are realities in today’s world and our lives. A marriage divided leads to separation or divorce. A nation divided results in vitriolic politics and, in extreme cases, civil war. An economy divided yields poverty and injustice. A community divided fosters individualism, racism, prejudice, and violence. Humanity divided faces all these issues on a global scale.

We all know what it is like to live divided lives. You know those times when your outsides and insides don’t match up? That’s what it means to be a house divided. You’re one person at work, another at home. You act one way with certain people and a different way with others. Life gets divided into pieces. Behaviour, beliefs, and ethics become situational. There is the work life, the family life, the prayer life, the personal life, the social life. Soon, we’re left with a bunch of pieces.

It seems we are forever trying to put the pieces of our lives together. That’s why the crowd gathered around Jesus. That’s why the religious authorities opposed Him. That’s why His family tried to restrain Him.

In their own ways, each was trying to put the pieces of their life together, but it wasn’t working. They didn’t fit. They had been found out. Their life and their world were neither what they thought they were nor what Jesus knew they could be. One reality had fallen and a new one was ready to rise.

Jesus always stands before us as the image of unity, wholeness, and integration. He is the stronger one. He does for us what we cannot do for ourselves. He puts our lives and houses back in order. Jesus offers a different image of what life might look like. He does so by revealing the division in our lives, the houses that cannot stand, and the crumbling of our kingdoms.

Even when it is for our own good, with the offer of new life and intended for wholeness, it’s a hard place to be. It means that one way or another, change is coming. Most of us don’t like that. It can be frightening.

“He has gone out of His mind,” the people said. The religious authorities accused Him of allegiance to Beelzebul, the ruler of demons. They projected onto Jesus their own interior conflict and division. They declared that which is holy, sacred, and beautiful to be unclean, dirty, and bereft of God. Their accusations said more about themselves than Jesus. Their accusations revealed the depth of their conflict and division. Their accusations were a way of avoiding themselves.

It’s hard to look at the division and inner conflict within our lives. The beginning of wholeness, however, is acknowledging our brokenness. Where is our own house divided? How and to what extent have we created conflict and division within our relationships? In what ways do we live fragmented lives, parcelling out pieces here and there? What is it that shatters your life? Anger and resentment, greed, insecurity, perfectionism, sorrow and loss. Fear. Envy. Guilt. Loneliness.

There are all sorts of forces, things, events, and sometimes, even people, by which our lives are broken and through which we are separated from God, others, and ourselves. Christ is stronger than anything that fragments our lives. He binds the forces that divide, heals the wounds that separate, and refashions the pieces into a new whole. There is nothing about your life or my life that cannot be put back together by the love of God in Christ.

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