The madness of Christ Jesus

When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, “He has gone out of his mind.” (Mark 3:21; Year B Proper 5)

What I think we sometimes fail to acknowledge is that they were right: He was quite mad. How could a person be human and divine and not find themselves quite outside of the acceptable norms, the sane standards of the day?

The Word of God spoke whole universes into being, out of sheer imagination, populating them with flora and fauna never before seen, or heard of, or dreamed of, then talking to them as though they were real. Madness, we would call it.

The Wisdom of God is, as has been well-documented, foolishness to the wise philosopher. Utter foolishness.

The steadfast loving-kindness of God is steadfastly insane, where insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over (by the prophets and the Incarnation), hoping for a different response from the people, a better result.

The Love of God, manic and unrestrained, indiscriminate and unrelenting, completely lacking boundaries of self-protection, proper procedure, ever over-enthusiastic, rushing in where angels fear to tread; of course it is madness.

The life of Jesus itself, refusing to play by the rules of mortality, is an exercise in madness. His family was right. Their only mistake was in trying to rein in the force that created nature, the will of God, instead of grasping the hem of Jesus’ garment and hanging on for the ride of their dear lives.

 

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