.Do we think of ourselves as the mothers and brothers of Christ as identified in today’s gospel?

“While speaking with the crowds, His mother and His brothers appeared outside, wishing to speak with Him.  Someone told Him, ‘Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, asking to speak with You.’

From what we know of Jesus, we expected He would go immediately to them. Instead He points to His disciples and says, ‘Here are my brothers and sisters’. He adds, ‘Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.’
In the context of Matthew’s narrative, Jesus seizes the moment to share with His listeners and with us a profound truth. He identifies with His new family, those present and those through the ages committed to the will of His Father as He made it known. He assures us this new family is one with Him in a personal, intensely loving relationship.

Doesn’t this passage strike you as odd?  What He is saying here appears almost dismissive of the ones He grew up with – the members of His family, who are at this moment within ear-shot of His words during this Gospel moment.  He is telling His disciples, who represent all who follow Him (including us) that they are to Him as dear as His own Mother! His words, far from being dismissive to His family, are precisely chosen.  A stronger statement of love – love for one’s own family – cannot be found; and Our Lord’s words, in this moment of the gospel story, capture the essence of His mission.  They are like a signature written under the one commandment He passes on to us:  “Love one another, as I have loved you.”

I love my mother and 2 brothers, and I am called to love everyone else as much as I love them.  This of course seems impossible.  But it is not.  That’s what the grace of God is for.  Nothing is impossible for God – living with us, through us, and in us.  Christ gives us the way and the grace to do it if we rely on Him.  Christ shows us how in His own love for all those men, women, and children – including ourselves – the Father places in His life. He died for them, as He does for us.  And in His death, He makes it possible for us to die for love of one another, and for all those the Father places in our lives. This superlative love is what the community of the Church is blessed to give to the world.

And….Do we think of ourselves as the mothers and brothers of Christ as identified in today’s gospel? Christ says that we are if we follow the will of God. Through our baptism we become Christians, a part of Him, and have the honor of carrying out His mission. Elsewhere scripture tells us that if we fail and deny Him, He will not deny us as He cannot deny Himself.

Having a realization of our identity as a Christian should have an impact on how we treat each other as strangers, family and friends. No one in the street is really a stranger, but rather a brother or sister we have yet to meet. Once we realize this, it makes each day a happy challenge. Giving a smile, doing a good deed and listening to others who are troubled, are only a few ways we carry out the mission. Gradually these actions can become a way of life. Christ lives on through us!


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