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  #1  
Old Jun 10, '12, 12:31 pm
exnihilo exnihilo is offline
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Default Mark 3:20-35 - What did Jesus family think of Him?

The Gospel reading for June 10th in both the Catholic and Revised Common lectionaries is Mark 3:20-35. In this passage the scribes say Jesus is possessed of the devil. Some say He is crazy. Christ's family comes to where He is teaching. He makes the statement that his family is those who do God's will.

I encountered a exposition on this event that had some troubling language. The writer referred to the Blessed Virgin in a style, typical of many Protestants, that gives the impression Mary was just a regular woman. The writer also made sure to refer to Jesus' kinsmen as brothers. The main point of the author was that the religious leaders and even Jesus' own family thought he was crazy. He was quite the radical and so should we be.

I'm interested in what folks would have to say about this? Personally I do not find a lot of room for Mary and Joseph to think Jesus was crazy given they were visited by angels of the Lord and aware of who Christ was. I guess if you've never read the first chapters of Luke or Matthew you might not know that both had visitations and awareness of the great task they had been chosen for. But what about the rest of His family (brothers - but obviously not sons of the Blessed Virgin Mary)? Just what did they make of Christ?

The Douay-Rheims, which is very close to the KJV, introduces the event as such:

Quote:
20 And they come to a house, and the multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread.

21 And when his friends had heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him. For they said: He is become mad.
The NIV renders it as:

Quote:
20 Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. 21 When his family[a] heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”
Who is the 'they' who are saying Jesus is crazy? This could refer to his family, but it seems to me it must be the crowd since his family is not present at the moment.

The DR renders verse 31 as

Quote:
And his mother and his bretheren came; and standing without, sent unto him, calling him.
And the NIV as

Quote:
Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him.
From this event in Mark I don't think we can conclude that Jesus family, if taken to mean those other than Mary and Joseph, thought He was crazy. It seems other people thought he was crazy, or possessed and His family went to where the crowd was gathered. They could be going to defend and protect Him. It seems to me presumptuous to assume His family thought him crazy.

Does anyone know the original Greek for what in verse 21 is translated as friends in DR and family in NIV?
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  #2  
Old Jun 10, '12, 4:00 pm
Joe Kelley Joe Kelley is online now
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Default Re: Mark 3:20-35 - What did Jesus family think of Him?

I read a commentary on this a long time ago, and don't remember where.

It was pointed out that these can't be younger siblings of Jesus. Younger siblings would never criticize or correct an older brother in that culture. It would be equivalent to criticizing their father. The author suggested that these were children from an earlier marriage of Joseph. They were upset that this young second wife and her son were ruining the family name, and they dragged Mary along to make her rein in her son. I doubt that one could prove that, but it is a reasonable explanation.
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Old Jun 10, '12, 4:29 pm
Fidelis Fidelis is offline
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Default Re: Mark 3:20-35 - What did Jesus family think of Him?

Quote:
Originally Posted by exnihilo View Post
Who is the 'they' who are saying Jesus is crazy? This could refer to his family, but it seems to me it must be the crowd since his family is not present at the moment.

From this event in Mark I don't think we can conclude that Jesus family, if taken to mean those other than Mary and Joseph, thought He was crazy. It seems other people thought he was crazy, or possessed and His family went to where the crowd was gathered. They could be going to defend and protect Him. It seems to me presumptuous to assume His family thought him crazy.
A very good point, and at least worth considering if one reads the text more carefully than the usual perfunctory reading given it by those who try to make anti-Catholic hay with it.
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  #4  
Old Jun 10, '12, 5:06 pm
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COPLAND 3 COPLAND 3 is offline
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Default Re: Mark 3:20-35 - What did Jesus family think of Him?

Quote:
Originally Posted by exnihilo View Post
The Gospel reading for June 10th in both the Catholic and Revised Common lectionaries is Mark 3:20-35. In this passage the scribes say Jesus is possessed of the devil. Some say He is crazy. Christ's family comes to where He is teaching. He makes the statement that his family is those who do God's will.

I encountered a exposition on this event that had some troubling language. The writer referred to the Blessed Virgin in a style, typical of many Protestants, that gives the impression Mary was just a regular woman. The writer also made sure to refer to Jesus' kinsmen as brothers. The main point of the author was that the religious leaders and even Jesus' own family thought he was crazy. He was quite the radical and so should we be.

I'm interested in what folks would have to say about this? Personally I do not find a lot of room for Mary and Joseph to think Jesus was crazy given they were visited by angels of the Lord and aware of who Christ was. I guess if you've never read the first chapters of Luke or Matthew you might not know that both had visitations and awareness of the great task they had been chosen for. But what about the rest of His family (brothers - but obviously not sons of the Blessed Virgin Mary)? Just what did they make of Christ?

The Douay-Rheims, which is very close to the KJV, introduces the event as such:



The NIV renders it as:



Who is the 'they' who are saying Jesus is crazy? This could refer to his family, but it seems to me it must be the crowd since his family is not present at the moment.

The DR renders verse 31 as



And the NIV as



From this event in Mark I don't think we can conclude that Jesus family, if taken to mean those other than Mary and Joseph, thought He was crazy. It seems other people thought he was crazy, or possessed and His family went to where the crowd was gathered. They could be going to defend and protect Him. It seems to me presumptuous to assume His family thought him crazy.

Does anyone know the original Greek for what in verse 21 is translated as friends in DR and family in NIV?
Bishop John McEvilly has..
(The Greek for friends is οι παρ αυτου- his own) It would, of course, be impious to say this of the Blessed Virgin and His believing relatives. It only applies to some of them, who did not yet believe in Him (John 7:5.)... In this, they were actuated by a feeling of friendship, and from a conviction that, as His friends, they were bound and had a right to do so... Some commentators say, our Lord s friends did not really believe Him to be mad, but that they affected to think so. This they did, in order to save both Him and themselves from the great danger they and He would incur, owing to the commotions excited on occasion of His preaching, and the envy and jealousy of the ruling powers among the Jews,
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  #5  
Old Jun 10, '12, 5:17 pm
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COPLAND 3 COPLAND 3 is offline
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Default Re: Mark 3:20-35 - What did Jesus family think of Him?

Cornelius a Lapide makes a good point in his commentary on John 7:5

Quote:
For though they wished it to be true (Jesus to be the Messiah), and partly believed it on account of His many miracles, yet on the other hand they doubted when they saw Him so poor and despised.
St. Thomas Aquinas comments on this verse

Quote:
These were not brothers of the flesh or of the womb, as the blasphemous opinion of Elvidius would have it. It is, indeed, offensive to the Catholic faith that the most holy virginal womb, which bore him who was God and man, should later bear another mortal man. Thus, they were his brothers or brethren in the sense of relatives, because they were related by blood to the Blessed Virgin Mary. For it is the custom in Scripture to call relatives “brothers,” as in Genesis (13:8): “Let us not quarrel, for we are brothers,” although Lot was the nephew of Abraham. And, as Augustine says, just as in the tomb in which our Lord’s body had been placed no other body was placed either before or after, so the womb of Mary conceived no other mortal person either before or after Christ. Although some of the relatives of the Blessed Virgin were apostles, such as the sons of Zebedee, and James of Alpheus, and some others, we should not think that these were among those who were urging Christ; this was done by other relatives who did not love him.
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  #6  
Old Jun 11, '12, 8:58 am
exnihilo exnihilo is offline
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Default Re: Mark 3:20-35 - What did Jesus family think of Him?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fidelis View Post
A very good point, and at least worth considering if one reads the text more carefully than the usual perfunctory reading given it by those who try to make anti-Catholic hay with it.
Thanks. I think this passage demonstrates the problems of interpretation. The simple words of Mark could lead people to the wrong conclusions if they are not otherwise properly instructed. Unfortunately in this case the author was a Protestant clergy. I'm trying myself to be fair to their writing and not read into it what was not said. But the impression I had was the person had never read the first chapters of Luke or Matthew which tell us angels visited both the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph and that they were aware of who Jesus was.

Quote:
Originally Posted by COPLAND 3 View Post
It would, of course, be impious to say this of the Blessed Virgin and His believing relatives.
Impious is precisely the word I was searching for to describe the commentary I read.

Quote:
Originally Posted by COPLAND 3 View Post
Some commentators say, our Lord s friends did not really believe Him to be mad, but that they affected to think so. This they did, in order to save both Him and themselves from the great danger they and He would incur, owing to the commotions excited on occasion of His preaching, and the envy and jealousy of the ruling powers among the Jews,
In some ways I can appreciate even Christ's followers not fully understanding Him. After all we know we can not fully comprehend God. We know even St. Peter's faith failed. And we know the Bread of Life discourse lost Him many disciples, at least for a time. It is a difficult subject. Also what does it mean to call someone crazy or mad? There seem to be varying degrees. Some people we might say are insane. Sometimes we mean they are reckless. But sometimes we describe a person as crazy when we really mean bold and brave.
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  #7  
Old Jun 11, '12, 9:44 am
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Default Re: Mark 3:20-35 - What did Jesus family think of Him?

One thing i like about Catholic approach to interpreting Scripture is that we have 2000 years of commentaries on Scripture, such as the Fathers of the Church. Most American protestants usually have a private interpretation based upon an English translation. We as Catholics have commentaries from men who spoke the original languages as their first language.
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  #8  
Old Jun 11, '12, 6:55 pm
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Default Re: Mark 3:20-35 - What did Jesus family think of Him?

Quote:
Originally Posted by COPLAND 3 View Post
One thing i like about Catholic approach to interpreting Scripture is that we have 2000 years of commentaries on Scripture, such as the Fathers of the Church. Most American protestants usually have a private interpretation based upon an English translation. We as Catholics have commentaries from men who spoke the original languages as their first language.
Excellent explanations COP. I also keep in mind that Jesus did not write one word of Scripture. That is why the Catholic Church insists that when we exegete the Word of God, we do so according to the Tradition of the Church. Because it is upon the Tradition of the Church that the New Testament is written.

Frequently, Protestants will castigate us because they claim we read the Scripture with "presuppositions". But the Catholic Church is the only Church which can legitimately do so. The Catholic Church wrote the New Testament and the "presuppositions" are encapsulated in the Traditions of the Church. Without these Traditions, we would certainly misunderstand the Word of God.

113 2. Read the Scripture within "the living Tradition of the whole Church". According to a saying of the Fathers, Sacred Scripture is written principally in the Church's heart rather than in documents and records, for the Church carries in her Tradition the living memorial of God's Word, and it is the Holy Spirit who gives her the spiritual interpretation of the Scripture (". . . according to the spiritual meaning which the Spirit grants to the Church").

In this case, the Tradition of the Church is that Mary loved her Son more than any mortal could possibly ever love Him, ever.

Sincerely,

De Maria
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