Our media appears to be rather full of people who are intent on saying things which will make us like them. The last thing any politician wants to do at present is say anything too risky or divisive, resulting in a downturn in their popularity and losing precious votes. Saying things to be popular and make others like you is crucial.

It doesn’t seem that Jesus was concerned with just being nice and making himself popular and some things he said were very abrasive and caused controversy within the community. Jesus rose above worldly popularity contests and some even began to say that he had a demon which was a normal way of understanding illness or madness. There is something profoundly discomforting about the gospel reading this week where Jesus gets misunderstood and accused and then appears to be insulting about his family when he affirms that those who do the will of God are his real family.

Doing God’s will is not always popular or mainstream. Following the path of Christ is not always going to make sense to everyone. Speaking up for a gospel of radical love and inclusion can be risky. This is the path of Christian discipleship.

Father Simon