Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Here Are My Mother and My Brothers

Jesus and his Apostles,
from the Russian Siysky Gospel, 1340
By Melanie Rigney

Who is there like you, the God who removes guilt and pardons sin for the remnant of his inheritance; Who does not persist in anger forever, but delights rather in clemency, and will again have compassion on us, treading underfoot our guilt? (Micah 7:18-19)

Lord, show us your mercy and love. (Psalm 85:8a)

(Jesus said:) “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother.” (Matthew 12:48-50)

Jesus my brother, show me the Father’s will.

It happens to all of us at some point in life, I suspect, in varying degrees. We’re a little embarrassed because our mother is older or younger, louder or quieter, smarter or not so smart as the mothers of our friends or of the cool kids. Or Dad doesn’t have the high-profile position or doesn’t sing as well or laughs way too long or is way too quiet compared with those other dads. And let’s not even get into the indignities that siblings bring.

At a glance, Jesus’s words in today’s Gospel reading are a bit off-putting. Come on! How can He ask who His mother is? We all know! It’s the long-suffering Mary, who gave birth to him, who heard the prophecy that a sword also would pierce her side, who couldn’t find him for three days.

But the words are comforting if you let them sink in. You are part of His family, no matter where you came from, no matter how much dysfunction you grew up in or thrived in. How awesome is that? Still, at times, Jesus can be a little uncomfortable to be around, just like our earthly families. He challenges us when we judge. He indicts us when we get a little too complacent. He can be a know-it-all at times. But just as with parents who enforced curfews and older siblings who warned us against running with a certain crowd, He loves us and wants the best for us. And if we listen and obey, we find ourselves in the best family ever… for eternity.

Spend some quality time today with your Brother. Listen to His advice.

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