Families are messy. From the outside, a family can appear ideal but underneath it all, every family, even the one that seems perfect, has issues by virtue of the fact that all families are comprised of humans and we are a messy bunch.
It seems every family I know has that one person who creates drama or that one who is quite different from the others. A large family can absorb this and still function well; a smaller family feels the ripples of the sheep who doesn’t fit well with the rest of the flock. To be fair, the friends of that sheep probably feel bad for that sheep being subjected to such a family and wonder how that sheep made it through so well. Messy.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus declares that whoever does the will of God is his brother, sister, and mother (Mk 3:35). This is good news! We are invited into the greatest of all families – God’s family. And while it is filled with some rogue sheep, it’s okay because God is our Father, Mary is our mother, and Jesus is our brother. Here in this family we are beloved daughters and sons. We are wanted. We are valued. We are adored.
God created each of us with intention and purpose and he has a plan that includes us. In this family we don’t need to worry about being hurt or forgotten. Many of us have been hurt by our earthly families. Our sinful nature causes us to wound those we love. Perhaps you have a parent who was abusive, withheld love or was overly critical. Perhaps you have a sibling with whom you fought and had a competitive relationship.
This lived experience of family can make it hard to trust God’s family and your place in it. If your relationship with your earthly father was strained, it could be hard to accept that God the Father isn’t the same. If your earthly mother was judgmental, it can be difficult to imagine Mary opening her mantle for you and interceding on your behalf. But, God is the perfect father who loves without limits. He is love and he created us in love. Mary is the perfect mother who desires to point you toward her Son, Jesus, the brother who doesn’t break your stuff or tattle on you.
These things are truths. They may be hard to grasp and accept but if you take them to prayer and tell your Heavenly Father what is difficult for you, he will help you open your heart to your valued place in his family.
Merridith Frediani’s perfect day includes prayer, writing, unrushed morning coffee, reading, tending to dahlias, and playing Sheepshead with her husband and three kids. She loves finding God in the silly and ordinary. She writes for Ascension Press, Catholic Mom, and her local Catholic Herald in Milwaukee. Her first book Draw Close to Jesus: A Woman’s Guide to Eucharistic Adoration is expected to be released summer 2021. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Feature Image Credit: Carlos Daniel, https://www.cathopic.com/photo/12658-alegria-familia