Monday, January 26, 2015

Here Are My Mother and My Brothers

Tuesday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time

By Melanie Rigney

Since the law has only a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of them, it can never make perfect those who come to worship by the same sacrifices that they offer continually each year.  (Hebrews 10:1)

Here I am Lord; I come to do your will. (Psalms 40:8a, 9a)

The mother of Jesus and his brothers arrived at the house. Standing outside, they sent word to Jesus and called him.  A crowd seated around him told him, “Your mother and your brothers and your sisters are outside asking for you.” But he said to them in reply, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking around at those seated in the circle he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3:31-35)

Lord, thank You for inviting me into Your family.

If you grew up in a loving family, today’s Gospel reading is likely difficult for you the first time through. Why does Jesus seem to be denying his family? It seems like a pretty cold way to talk about his mother and other relatives, that they are nothing more to him than those seated near him.
For those of us who grew up in families that were less than loving, the reading is comforting the first time through. God loves us, even if our parents and siblings and other relatives don’t. Even if we are estranged from them for reasons of personal safety and sanity, we still have a family in the Lord.
For all of us, however, the reading becomes challenging on a deeper dive. For if anyone who does the will of God is part of Jesus’s family, those folks are also part of our family. We may find joy in the fact that Jesus considers us part of the clan, and accept that that person who monopolizes the conversation at prayer group also is loved by the Lord. But for us to love that person in the same way we love our parents or brother or sister or an uncle or a cousin?
Jesus isn’t denying Mary or his other relatives. Rather, he’s urging us to broaden our view of family—and to welcome into our hearts and souls all those with whom we share a spiritual kinship. That’s a lot of people. That’s a lot of love.

By your words or actions today, invite someone into the family. Give special consideration to those who have backed away from the table.

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