Inside, outside of Jesus

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The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B, 09 June 2024
Genesis 3:9-15 ><}}}}*> 2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1 ><}}}}*> Mark 3:20-35
Photo by author, from the refectory of Sacred Heart Novitiate, Novaliches, QC, 18 March 2024.

In this age of so much emphasis on appearances, social media never run out of lists of what’s in, what’s out not only in fashion and lifestyles but practically in everything we do. Everybody wants to be “in” and nobody wants to be left out of the latest trends.

Yet, the irony is, we do not realize that the more we try to be “in”, the more we are actually “out” as in passe and baduy or jologs; in our efforts to be “in” and always on top of the latest in everything, the more we are actually lost, the more we become ordinary. The more we try to be “in”, the more we become “out” like in the gospel this Sunday.

Jesus came home with his disciples. Again the crowd gathered, making it impossible for them even to eat. When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.” the scribes who had come from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “By the prince of demons he drives out demons.” A crowd seated around him told him, “Your mother and your brothers and your sisters are outside asking for you.” But he said to them in reply, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking around at those seated in the circle he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”

Mark 3:20-22, 32-35

Photo from https://santoninodecebubasilica.org/chronicles/viva-pit-senor-viva-senor-santo-nino/

Mark wrote the first gospel account of Jesus Christ that is very short and straight to the point, making it so engaging with its quick pace that brings us his readers right inside the scene he describes like our gospel this Sunday.

Jesus in Mark’s gospel is portrayed as a person so filled with mystery that the only way to know Him is to enter into a personal relationship with Him. It is not enough to be physically close with Jesus. For Mark, there is an inner dynamics of faith involved in knowing Jesus as we have seen in the last three Sundays before Lent interrupted our Ordinary Time in February this year when people began following Him as He spoke with authority that He could drive away demons (Mk.1:21), heal the sick like Peter’s mother-in-law (Mk.1:29) and cleanse lepers (Mk.1:40).

Let us come with Mark inside that house with Jesus to see if those inside with Him were really “in” or “out”.

Photo by author, sculpture of Jesus wandering Galilee, sleeping on a bench in Capernaum; taken in May 2019 at the entrance to Capernaum.

In that house perhaps owned by one of the Lord’s disciples, we find through Mark that not everybody inside was “in” with Jesus. Many did not actually believe Him like His relatives who have come to get Him out, claiming “He is out of his mind”. Likewise, there were inside His enemies from the start like the scribes who accused Him of being possessed by demons.

Very clear that not everybody inside the house believed Jesus nor were one with Him. That is why Jesus narrated the parable of a kingdom and a house divided against itself, asking those present, “How can Satan drive out Satan?”

Mark reminds us here that physical presence is not enough with Jesus as well as with everyone. It is always easier to go inside without really coming inside. As we have reflected after my mother’s death, going home is going to one’s place but coming home is being one with persons like our loved ones (https://lordmychef.com/2024/05/10/coming-home-going-home/).

That’s when Mark dropped his kicker in the story towards end when Jesus declared about the sin against the Holy Spirit:

“Amen, I say to you, all sins and all blasphemies that people utter will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an everlasting sin.” For they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.”

Mark 3:28-30

Image from shutterstock.com.

Notice how Mark explained why Jesus declared sin against the Holy Spirit cannot be forgiven: because they had said “He has an unclean spirit.” What’s the big deal? It is so big!

We are able to learn and follow the path of right living in Christ through the Holy Spirit who was sent by Jesus to explain to us everything He had taught us while still here. Therefore, to sin against the Holy Spirit is to reject God Himself, to reject Jesus and His teachings!

How can we be forgiven if we do not believe God forgives sins, that Jesus has redeemed us already? How could one be healed of one’s sickness if the person does not believe in doctors or nurses?

That was precisely the sin of the Lord’s relatives and the scribes who were there inside with Him in the house: instead of seeing the power of God in Jesus Christ, His love and mercy and healing, they saw the devil. If they have opened themselves to the guidance and light of the Holy Spirit, they would have recognized Jesus indeed is the Christ just like the people of Nain after Jesus brought back to life the widow’s only son, exclaiming, “The Lord has visited his people” (Lk.7:16).

Photo by author, 2010.

But wait… there is still the punch line of Mark in today’s gospel when those around Jesus told Him, “Your mother and your brothers and your sisters are outside asking for you.”

That’s the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of the Lord whose Memorial of the Immaculate Heart we celebrated yesterday after the Sacred Heart Solemnity.

Now look at that great irony in our gospel today. There was the Blessed Mother Mary outside with the Lord’s cousins wanting to see Him when in fact, she was the one Jesus was referring to when He replied, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking around at those seated in the circle he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”

So, who’s really inside and outside of Jesus?

Of course, it is so easy to answer that but what about us? Where are we in this gospel scene? Inside but one of the relatives and scribes or, one of the disciples? Or, outside like the Blessed Mother who has always been inside Jesus her Son?

It is not enough to be inside the church and the Catholic Church or simply inside your house or wherever there is a gathering of people. Or, in marriage. We have to be one in Christ with the persons around us.

In the first reading we have heard how our first parents, Adam and Eve were already inside Paradise, with God face to face but still, not really inside Him for inside themselves were pride and desires to become like God. Deep inside them they wanted to be outside of God without realizing its dire results that have been passed on to us in this generation too, keeping us away and apart from each other. Worst, we have refused to follow the Holy Spirit’s promptings that until now, peace and justice have both remained elusive to us because we could not trust Jesus, always finding easier for many to just quit or leave marriages and family by having a divorce.


Jesus came to change us along with our many perceptions and beliefs of who God is. Many times, we find the ways of Jesus so different, even far out from our own ideas and wishes and desires for ourselves and for others.

Photo by author, 13 September 2023.

Last Sunday, we reflected how Jesus saved the world by suffering and dying on the Cross, not by programs and activities. Today, Mark invites us to come inside the crowded house to join the true family of Jesus, to be His mother and brother and sister by doing the will of His Father.

In this age marked by so many divisions among us due to our own making like divorce and wars, our readings remind us how it had always been the trend that is why the Son of God, Jesus Christ became human to fulfill the Father’s promise of salvation and wholeness right after Adam and Eve sinned against Him.

Everything can be overcome in Christ Jesus who is our only fulfillment and salvation in life. St. Paul instructs us in the second reading to always search Jesus in every suffering we are going through especially in our family or marriages so that we are not “discouraged because although our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day”(2Cor.4:16).

Let us pray:

Dearest Jesus:
help me find my way home
back to You
into the Father's house;
forgive for always running
away from You,
always trying to get inside
the world only to find myself
more lost and outside;
home is where the heart is,
Jesus, as they say;
and it is so true with You
especially in this time when
"place" is no longer physical location
but wherever You are proclaimed
and made known.
Let me believe in every possibilities
in You, Lord Jesus.
Amen.
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