Keep it in the family - by James Archer
(Cast: Jesus’ mother Mary; his brothers James and Jude. James is discovered sitting at a table, reading. Enter Mary with three cups of coffee on a tray and sits down.)
Mary Have you seen Jesus recently, James?
James Not this week, Mum, but his fame’s spreading far and wide.
Mary It’s not natural, seeing so little of his family. I hope he’s all right. (Jude storms in)
Jude Idiot! Fool!
James What is it this time, Jude?
Jude (Slams the Daily Star down on the table) Look! “Demons worship Jesus!” Headlines in the national press! Pharisees up in arms! Disgrace to the family! Crowds clinging to him! Our brother’s gone start raving bonkers!
James OK, OK. Don’t blow your top! Calm down and let us see what it says. You read it, Mum.
Mary (Fumbles with her glasses, then reads) “A terrified crowd watched aghast last night as evil spirits fell down and worshipped Jesus-bar-Joseph, the controversial Rabbi from Nazareth. Hundreds of chronically sick people had followed him to the lakeside near Capernaum, spurred on by wild rumours that he could heal them. But the trouble started when he drove out some evil spirits, and they fell at his feet and worshipped him, and he accepted their worship as if it were his due.”
Jude (Interrupting) And that’s my brother!
Mary (Continuing) “Rabbi Jesus is already at odds with the Pharisees for healing a man on the Sabbath. In an exclusive interview with our Star reporter, Rabbi Levi of Capernaum was quick to condemn the action last night. ‘At last Jesus has shown his true colours,’ he said. ‘He is possessed by the devil, who gives him the power to drive out demons.’”
Jude See what I mean? If we don’t do something about it, he’ll be locked up within weeks. He’s far too big for his boots!
James Yes, but he has always been a bit like that. Forgiving sins, arguing with the Pharisees, pampering to a crowd of hero- worshipping peasants, and now demons. So it’s not so different after all.
Jude If he’d got any sense at all, he’d keep his mouth shut, instead of trying to teach the priests what Moses meant.
Mary (who has not really been listening to them, far too busy with her own thoughts) And it’s not safe for him. He nearly got crushed by the crowd last week, and the Pharisees are out to get him. Oh Jesus, be sensible!
Jude It was bad enough when he started associating with tax collectors and beggars. And those fishermen! (does a dog impression) “Anything you say, Master!” Ugh! They make me sick!
James It’s too much to expect us to cope with the pressures he puts on us. Why can’t he just behave like anyone else?
Mary And marry a nice Jewish girl. Thirty-three and still single – what must the neighbours think?
Jude He’s gone mad, Mum. The attention’s gone to his head.
Mary Now stop it, Jude. That’s enough.
Jude But we’ve got to stop him for his own sake.
James OK, OK. We’ll ask him round to supper tonight – he can’t reasonably refuse, can he? Once he’s away from the crowd, we’ll reason with him and make him see sense.
Mary At least we can try.
James So it’s agreed. I’ll go and get him. (Exit)
Mary Jude, sit down and drink your coffee. It must be cold by now. (Clearing up around him. Jude bangs his mug on the table.) All this stomping and slamming. (Exit with tray. Jude picks up paper and flicks through it. Mary reappears from the kitchen at the same time as James returns.) Jesus, how nice ….. (Realises that he isn’t there) ….. oh – James, where is he?
James (Bitterly) I couldn’t even get near him because of the crowds. So I sent a message with one of his fishermen friends, inviting him to visit his family. And all he said was ….. (stops, shakes his head) ….. was, “Who are my family? My real family are those who do the will of God.” (Jude slams the paper on the table and storms out. Mary turns away dejectedly, and James leads her out comfortingly.)
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