Read Hebrews 9:2-3,11-14, Ps.47:2-3,6-9, Mark 3:20-21

“When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, "He has gone out of his mind.” (Mark 3:21)

Can we place a limit on what we offer to God? Is there any point at which our giving to God becomes madness? The case of Jesus and his disciples in our Gospel passage today gives us some cause for concern.

Mark reports that they were so busy attending to the people that even when Jesus went home, the crowd will not let him have some space for himself; not even to eat. Indeed, his relations heard about it and they concluded that “this was too much.” They feared that Jesus had gone out of his mind, so they came to rescue him from the crowd.

Jesus did not consider any sacrifice too much to offer. He generously gave his time and as he often said: He came “not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28).

The book of Hebrews tells us how Jesus entered the sanctuary not made with human hands to offer the perfect sacrifice of his very blood and flesh. The priest is called to replicate this sacrifice of Jesus at mass every day. He also has to be willing to sacrifice for the sake of the people, even if that sacrifice is making himself available for the people without any form of discrimination.

Today we remember St. Agnes. She was a Roman girl who was only thirteen years old when she suffered martyrdom for the Faith. Despite her age, Agnes already knew what it meant to offer her body as a sacrifice to God. She made a promise to God never to stain her purity. Her love for the Lord was very great and she hated sin even more than death! Since she was very beautiful. Many young men wished to marry Agnes, but she would always say, “Jesus Christ is my only Spouse.”

Procop, the Governor's son, became very angry when she refused him. He had tried to win her for his wife with rich gifts and promises, but the beautiful young girl kept saying, “I am already promised to the Lord of the Universe. He is more splendid than the sun and the stars, and He has said He will never leave me!” In great anger, Procop condemned her to death.

Even the pagans cried to see such a young and beautiful girl going to death. Yet, Agnes was as happy as a bride on her wedding day. She did not pay attention to those who begged her to save herself. “I would offend my Spouse,” she said, “if I were to try to please you. He chose me first and He shall have me!” Then she prayed and bowed her head for the death stroke of the sword.

At times, giving to God seems like madness. It felt like madness for Jesus to be attending to the people when he had not eaten. Surely, it would be pure madness for a girl to refuse marriage to the Governor’s son and prefer to die instead of gladly entering a life of unquantifiable riches and earthly glory.

But let us not forget that: “We proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For God's foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God's weakness is stronger than human strength.” (1st Corinthians 1:23-25)

Let us pray: Heavenly Father, I give my life to you. Make me your instrument, your apostle, and a light to the world. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Saint Agnes, Virgin, Martyr. Bible Study: Hebrews 9:2-3,11-14, Ps.47:2-3,6-9, Mark 3:20-21).

@Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu