Are you the one person in your family who is serious about religious faith? Are you the one who goes to church every Sunday and who has to remind everyone to say grace before dinner? Are you the only person in your family who knows how to say the Rosary, who knows where your Bible is located (and who actually reads it)? And as a result, does this mean your relatives think you’re kind of weird, and call you names such as “Holy Roller” and “Jesus Freak”?
Well, if so, you’re in good company. I know a person who is very zealous about religious faith, and as a result his family thought he was insane. His name is Jesus Christ. Yup, THAT Jesus Christ.
In Mark’s gospel, we read about Jesus traveling around the countryside, preaching and teaching and performing amazing miracles. Then he and his disciples returned home to Nazareth. In the third chapter we read: “He came home, and again the crowds 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.’”
Whoa! Jesus’ relatives not only thought he was insane, they wanted to seize Him. They wanted to lock Him up. They wanted to do an intervention and send him away somewhere to be cured of his delusional ideas. I can see it now: He’s locked in a room in some faraway rehab center, and every afternoon a psychiatrist with a Ph.D. from Harvard comes in to chat. “Now, Jesus,” he says in a condescending voice, “when did you first start having thoughts about being the son of God? Was it while you were grieving the death of your father, Joseph? Did Joseph ever say things to you that made you feel bad about yourself?”
That must have been very frustrating to have his own family members think he was crazy. We all know Jesus faced opposition from the Pharisees and religious leaders in Jerusalem, but most people are under the impression that Jesus was loved and admired by all the common folk out in the countryside. Well, maybe many of them admired Jesus, but his own relatives did not.
The next time your relatives mock you with taunts such as “goody-goody” and “God squad,” just because you won’t join in their profane conversations, do what you always do—pray for them—and then be thankful they are not plotting to have you locked up. Having them only think you’re a weirdo religious nut is much better than what Jesus had to deal with. And it’s much better than what Christians in other parts of the world have to deal with for being a follower of the Lord: imprisonment, torture, and even death.
You have faith in the fact that God is real, and that it is important to worship and serve Him. So, don’t let your unbelieving relatives get you down. Who knows, they may turn out to be like one of Jesus’ relatives, a man named James. James is not mentioned in the gospels, and there’s no indication he believed in Jesus during the Lord’s earthly ministry. James may have been one of the relatives who thought Jesus was out of his mind.
But after the Resurrection, when the early Christian Church was growing, we read about James in the Acts of the Apostles. He became the leader of the Church in Jerusalem. He became a pillar of the faith. He became a passionate “Jesus Freak.”
It’s no fun to have your loved ones call you a “holy roller.” But don’t despair. You’re in good company.