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Notes from Fr. Vitalis

Dear Parishioners,

 In today’s gospel reading we encounter two groups of people. The close relatives of Jesus, who genuinely care for him, and the Pharisees, who seek way to discredit the young prophet. The two groups are yet to understand Jesus’ mission. They appear to react against him. Jesus, who grew up in their midst, was relatively unknown to them. He has been demonstrating extra ordinary   powers of eloquence, deep insight about God and teaching with authority.


Many people flock around him to the point that he had little time for himself. His family sought to protect him; they came demanding that he return home saying “He is out of his mind.” Obviously, they love him, but do not feel it is right for him to let himself be used and torn apart by crowds and detractors, who are seeking ways to trap him or do him harm. Their sense of protection, fear and Jesus’ health misleads their judgement.


The second set of people, the Pharisees do not think well of Jesus. His popularity and convincing teachings threaten their security and authority. They resort to blackmail and bring an accusation against him: “He is possessed by … the prince of demons.”  Jesus replies to the Pharisees, then to his family.  A kingdom or family divided against itself cannot last. Jesus teaches that Satan is nothing to him. He goes further to indict them for not accepting the Holy Spirit. The Pharisees, who are the custodian of the Torah, should have recognized the day of manifestation in the person of Jesus. They did not see that he is the fulfilment of God’s promise. The works, miracles and great signs that Jesus performed was not sufficient to convince them.


I think of a vice that does a similar thing to us. The sin of avarice and greed which blinds a person from appreciating the good things another person has. Like the Pharisees who did not accept Jesus or the family of Jesus who did not want to share Jesus with others. What about you? Have you found yourself in situations where you are envious of others or so possessive that you are not able to share your gifts with others.


Today’s discussion invites us to look inward. Take time to appreciate people and recognize the good that Holy Spirit is inspiring in them. Do not be in haste to criticize or condemn people. Learn how to discern the actions of the Spirit. Jesus says, “whoever does the will of God is brother and sister and mother to me.” Now, we know that only those who do the will of God are his family.


This is a game changer. A new theological understanding. He makes it clear that anyone doing his own wishes rather than the will of God has excluded himself from the family of God. Wow! This new teaching seems too hard to embrace. However, it is the core of Jesus’ mission to do the will of the Father. “Thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” This is the threshold of holiness. One must be freed from his self to discern Spirit of God. To participate in this new kingdom that Jesus proposes, one must be open and   docile to the will of God no matter the cost. It is not cheap to be a disciple. May the good Lord give us the grace to follow.


Sincerely Yours In The Lord,

Fr. Vitalis Anyanike, Pastor