Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Tuesday in the 3rd Week of Ordinary Time (II)
Outside/ Inside

Readings: 2 Samuel 6:12b-15, 17-19; Psalm 24:7, 8, 9, 10; Mark 3:31-35

Those familiar with the clubbing scene will probably know what it feels like to be outside a club late on a Saturday night. You can probably hear the sounds of music and revelry emanating from the interior of the club, just as you can feel the excitement and anticipation welling up from within yourself. You simply can’t wait to join in the fun. That is, of course, if you can first find a way to get in…

This is the image that our readings bring to mind today. Commentators point out to us, for example, the clear distinction that is drawn in the gospel between the crowd seated around Jesus inside the house, and the group that is waiting outside. Although there will be those whose minds will, at this point, immediately turn to questions surrounding the proper role of the Mother of Jesus, this doesn’t seem to be the immediate issue here. Rather, what Jesus seems to be doing is using a concrete situation – two groups of people each in a distinct location – as an opportunity to illustrate a spiritual point. And the point is clear. Just as a distinction can be drawn in the secular world between family members and strangers, so too, in the spiritual realm, a distinction can be drawn between those who are counted among Jesus’ inner circle and those who are outsiders, between those gaining entry into the revelry of God’s kingdom and those who are still outside looking in.

The key criterion for distinguishing these two groups is also clear. It is stated in the words of Jesus in the gospel: whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother. And it is also illustrated in the scene presented to us in the first reading. In order to gain entry into Jesus’ inner circle, in order to become a member of the kingdom of God, one must first strive to imitate David, who brought the ark of the Lord into Jerusalem and enthroned the presence of God at the very heart of his own kingdom. And can we fail to notice the way in which David does this? Not only does David enthrone the Lord in his kingdom, but he also does so as only a besotted lover can. Clad only in a linen apron he dances with joyful abandon and performs generous animal sacrifices in the Lord’s honor.

In like manner, in order to be counted among the members of the Lord’s spiritual family, we are called to admit the presence of God into our lives, to allow God to sit upon the throne of our hearts. That’s the way to gain entry into the eternal dance-club of God’s kingdom.

Shall we go clubbing today?

1 comment:

  1. For many years, I had been mentally assigning people I meet into a virtual "Inside" and "Outside". The dreadful thing was that I did this purely on emotional grounds and very naturally and automatically! I knew that this was un-Christian, but at the same time felt powerless becos it had become so ingrained a habit in me. Until the grace of God worked its wonder ...

    In math and statistics, we learn that in a finite universe, one can define the solution space as consisting of entities in three regions: 'inside', 'outside' and 'in-between'. It's the 'in-between' space that intrigued me because it embodies traits of both the 'inside' and 'outside'. And isn't that precisely where the majority of us (me included)reside? The Lord of the heavenly dance-club came to show us how easy it is to migrate to the 'inside' - in nifty dance steps, flashing lights and numbing music!

    Happy clubbing, Fr Chris!