(Psalm) Exodus 15:8-10, 12, 17
Saint Lawrence of Brindisi, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Optional Memorial)
Whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother. (Matthew 12:50)
What would you think if someone told you that you were related to Pope Francis? That’s the point Jesus made when his kinfolk came to hear him preach. We are all equal brothers and sisters living under the care of our heavenly Father.
In the Judaic tradition, family is the stronghold of life. In fact, all of Jewish culture is based on the people’s ties to Abraham and his children. This family bloodline was essentially their path to salvation. As you can imagine, to say something “antifamily” was appalling to the Jewish people.
But this is what Jesus did. Try to imagine the shock of this moment when Jesus appeared to shun Mary and his brethren. To make them wait outside while he tended to the crowd of hurting souls in the house must have been hard for him to do. But Jesus did it to make a point: anyone who is trying to follow God is part of his family, even the lepers, the prostitutes, the tax gatherers, and the pagans. Everyone can inherit his kingdom. Even you!
Not only does this stunning declaration make Jesus our brother and Mary our mother, but it makes us all relatives to each other—including the pope! It redefines our concept of family and opens our eyes to the depth of our spiritual relationships with each other and with Christ.
It makes sense, doesn’t it? We who seek the kingdom speak the same language—the language of Scripture and our common liturgy. We take on the family likeness as we seek to obey our Father and be forgiving toward one another. We even have our own family traditions, like fasting during Lent and making the sign of the cross! At the same time, God treats us like family. He watches over us and protects us. He teaches us. He even has written us into his will, promising us a heavenly inheritance.
Take this notion of spiritual family to heart today. Remember that we are all one big family—even the ones we don’t like. Since we will all experience the joy of heaven together, we may as well start on earth.
“Father, thank you for making me part of this big, glorious, messy family.”~WAU