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June 9, 2024: Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Gospel: Mark 3:20-35

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.”

Summoning them, he began to speak to them in parables, “How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand; that is the end of him. But no one can enter a strong man’s house to plunder his property unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can plunder the house. 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.”

His mother and his brothers arrived. Standing outside they sent word to him and called him. 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.”


Before we were married, my wife had nearly zero accurate knowledge of the Catholic faith due to her upbringing. I took her into her first Catholic chapel. I simply showed the space and made a comment about the seating being arranged “in choir” for the Liturgy of the Hours, but I didn’t explain the tabernacle.

As we left, she commented that there was something about that space that gave an overwhelming sense of calm and peace. A recent reflection in Living Faith referred to the mystics as having a sense of “hierognosis” or feeling the Eucharistic Presence of God without knowing what was there. I believe that’s what she experienced.

I knew what was there, and in my casual walk-through of the chapel and reflexive genuflection, I’m not sure I felt a thing.

I think we sometimes get caught up in what we are familiar with, and it becomes a barrier to us. “Who are my mother and my brothers?” Jesus wasn’t rejecting his family; he was turning a notion on its head that they somehow should command his full focus while there were many others he was ministering to in the moment.

This notorious phrase is often used to downplay the role of Mary in the life of Jesus, but I think it might just be an example where Jesus was being a bit human. Was he taking his mother for granted here? Perhaps. Have I done similarly?

Definitely; because (I think) I know the people in my life so well, I tend to overlook how they’re feeling or sometimes don’t even give my full attention to what they’re saying. In my mind, I already know.

This has been my struggle with prayer lately, too. I’m having a hard time trusting in God’s Providence because I already know better how something needs to turn out.

And yet in the first reading today, Adam and Eve knew better, too. They surely weren’t surprised to find out that they were naked, but after eating the forbidden fruit, it became an issue. They ate the fruit because they had been “enlightened” and suddenly knew better than to think it was a problem to eat from that tree.

Their own self-assurance was their mistake, as it is mine. Being educated or aware isn’t the problem, but disregarding the mystery of the Divine Presence with me, around me in others and Creation – that is when our house becomes truly divided against itself.


How can we rediscover the familiar this week? Can we find a time for quiet meditation to let go of what we know and seek to feel the presence of God around and within us? How might we be more aware of others in our routine, especially of those so familiar to us, so that we are truly being attentive to them and bringing a revival to the relationship?

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Brad Crites

Brad Crites

Brad Crites is a Providence Associate and former webmaster and adjunct faculty member at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. He specializes in teaching and learning as well as organizational culture and change dynamics. He is committed to philanthropy and community development as a Lilly Scholar Alumnus. He currently works for Purdue University as an Educational Technology Consultant. Brad lives with his wife, Tiffany, and their children, Brooklyn and Brett, on their historic family farm near Solsberry, Indiana.

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  1. Avatar Deb on June 7, 2024 at 7:36 am

    Thank you, Brad. Your reflection has many truths.

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