Jesus came with his disciples into the house.\ 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.”\ — Mk 3:20-21, Saturday of the Second Week of Ordinary Time
In brief, here are two reactions of the world to the Christian life fully lived. In the first, the crowd gathers, hungry to be near him. Perhaps they came as many did, for physical healing, or out of simple curiosity. Word has doubtlessly spread of this healer who spoke with a strange, new authority. Those from afar are drawn near. His relatives - those closest to him - respond differently. Something is clearly wrong. At best, he is unwell; at worst, possessed by a devil. There is a hint of scandal.
We easily notice interruptions in patterns. An intentionally Christian life is an interruption in the current of the world, an eddy which lives in the stream but gyres and wends its own way. Attention is caught, interest piqued.
How do we, react in the face of witness which challenges us? Do we examine the person, impute motives, tidily categorize, rationalize, dismiss? God speaks to us through others, in their words and actions, even if the other may not fully realize his own participation. We ought to have the ears to listen and the eyes to see.
There may be occasion for us to bear Christian witness in word or deed. If the attention turns to us, what then? How well do we bear the scrutiny? Do we invite or repel? Do we smooth things over, quick to resume our place in the pattern, or do we stand fast?