A Message from Deacon Greg Diciaula
In Mark’s Gospel, we learn some interesting details about Jesus’ early life. He’s known to be a carpenter, probably learning this trade from Joseph. Strangely, Mark describes Jesus as “the son of Mary.” This is unusual since adult males were typically identified with the name of their fathers. Brothers and sisters of Jesus are also mentioned. Scripture scholars are divided on how to interpret this.
As Catholics, we believe that Mary was and always remained a virgin, thus we don’t believe that this refers to other children of Mary. Some scholars suggest that these family members might be Joseph’s children from a previous marriage. Others explain the words brother and sister often referred to relatives, including cousins or nieces, and nephews.
The theme of Mark’s Gospel is: who is Jesus? The townspeople of Nazareth might know the carpenter, the son of Mary, but they don’t know Jesus, the Son of God. We’re told that Jesus is hampered from performing miracles in Nazareth because the people lack faith. Mark is foreshadowing Jesus’ rejection by his own people, the people of Israel. While many of the first Christians were Jewish, Christianity took hold and flourished in the Gentile communities. Mark is writing for a mostly Gentile community, who may have been experiencing persecution. By showing that Jesus himself was rejected, Mark consoles and reassures his first readers.
He is also alerting us of the possible consequences of Christian discipleship. By living as disciples of Jesus in an increasingly secular world, are we willing to accept ridicule, criticism and possible rejection?
God bless you!
Deacon Greg Diciaula