Saint for the day: Agnes (died c. 258)
Hebrews 9:2-3, 11-14 – Psalm 47 – Mark 3:20-21
“Open our hearts, O Lord, to listen to the words of your Son.”
(Today’s “Alleluia Verse” before hearing the Holy Gospel)
Today’s Saint, Agnes was only 12 or 13 when she was martyred for being a Christian. While she was in prison a man looked at her in a lustful way and he immediately went blind. However, it was Saint Agnew who prayed for him which gave him his sight back. With this miracle, we are reminded that we must love even those who harm us and pray for those who take advantage of us.
The line between holiness and craziness is often blurred and it is hard to tell the difference. That’s why most of us just dismiss someone whom we don’t understand and say that they are “crazy!” In today’s very short Gospel so many people are following Jesus and there isn’t enough room for them to get in. Then the relatives come to “seize him for they said he is out of his mind.” One of the commentaries that I read this morning brought up the fact that the Greek word, “he” is the same as, “them.” So, did Jesus’ relatives think he or them (the crowd) was crazy? I remember a friend telling me that his mother was somewhat fanatical in her understanding of what it meant to be a good Catholic and in their fatherless home one of the older sons wasn’t what we’d call a “true believer.” One time when they got into an argument there was shouting and ranting from both sides and the mother insisted that the son kneel down and ask God for forgiveness. The arguing and shouting got so bad that the neighbors – fearing violence – called the police. However, when the police arrived they immediately took the mother into custody thinking that she was the crazy one! When we read the lives of many of the saints we might have the same reaction since some of the things they did appear very bazaar to our ways of thinking. Yet when we come right down to it we have to say that – without the eyes of faith – many of the statements of Jesus go against the grain of common thought. And therein is the crux: Jesus calls us to follow Him. He promises that “whoever tries to save his life will lose it and whoever loses his life will save it. When Peter tries to stop Jesus from going to Jerusalem Jesus tells him, “get behind me, you Satan You’re thinking with human thoughts and not in Godly ways.” Paul tells us, “let your minds (thoughts) be transformed in Christ Jesus” and we need to let this happen even if it appears on the surface to be somewhat crazy. We are called to follow Jesus but it’s not enough to just be a “crowd follower.” We must move to the next level of becoming “one with Christ.” “Now it is no longer I that lives but Christ in me.” The words of the “Morning Offering” are a good way to start the day. “Oh, Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer thee all my prayers, works, joys and sufferings of this day in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world and with our Holy Father, Pope Francis and for … (whatever special need/intention you have.”) Give it a try. It can’t hurt. Amen!