“My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.”
Today’s Gospel is one of the ones that critics use to argue against Mary’s perpetual virginity (I’m talking about the “brothers” part but that’s a topic for another blog post). I believe that today’s Gospel offers us something else – a reminder about the universality of the Church, that all are welcomed into God’s family.
Jesus was surrounded by a large crowd, so much so that the ones whom Jesus loved – his mother and his “brothers” (also used for nephews, nieces, cousins, half-brothers and half-sisters) could not get to Him. Someone passed along the news that Jesus’ loved ones were waiting for Him and Jesus responded with the above.
With His response, Jesus said that all who were in the crowd were his mother and his brothers as they were the ones hearing His word and being moved to action. The crowd wasn’t taking the place of the Blessed Mother and His loved ones but, in essence, the crowd was becoming part of Jesus’ family.
God created each and every one of us to be a part of His heavenly family, and the entirety of salvation history, from Adam and Eve culminating all the way up to the New Covenant and the person of Jesus Christ, is the story of God working to bring us into His family fold.
Here, Jesus is saying that being a part of His family, God’s family, is more than just the physical bond of flesh and blood. Rather, it’s about obedience to God’s word.
This is a constant theme in the Gospels. Just a few chapters later in Luke, a woman calls out to Jesus, proclaiming blessedness on His mother Mary (11:28). Jesus responds here similarly, “Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”
Brothers and sisters in Christ, in order to fully be a member of God’s family, we must take a hard look at ourselves. Have we heard the word of God and heeded it, obeyed it? Or are we hearing the word of the world and following that instead?
Dive deep into the Word of God in Scripture. Listen to the Word of God in prayer. Take it, internalize it and then proceed to action.
Erin is a Cleveland native and graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville. Following graduation, she began volunteering in youth ministry at her home parish of Holy Family Church. Her first “big girl” job was in collegiate sports information where, after a busy two years in the profession on top of serving the youth, she took a leap of faith and followed the Lord’s call to full-time youth ministry at St. Peter Church. She still uses her communication arts degree as a freelance writer and statistician, though. You can catch her on old episodes of the Clarence & Peter Podcast on YouTube as well as follow her on Twitter @erinmadden2016.