They said, “Where did this man get all this?
What kind of wisdom has been given him?
What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands!
Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary,
and the brother of James and Joseph and Judas and Simon?
And are not his sisters here with us?”
And they took offense at him.
The issue of the family of Jesus raises lots of questions for Christians today . . . where did all these brothers and sisters come from? It’s a real conundrum for priests and parish educators. Well, the family of Jesus raised lots of questions for the early church as well, but for a different reason. For the early church the issue was who gets to belong to the family of Jesus—can Gentiles belong? Obviously, for the gospel writer we call Mark, Jesus’ family of origin was well known to the townsfolk, and they were not impressed (“Who does he think he is?”}. Perhaps for us, with a world and a church so divided, we might need to focus a bit more on the carpenter, the son of Mary, who chooses to make us his sisters and brothers.