In today’s Gospel it may seem that Our Lord is showing disrespect toward his mother and his “brothers” (in the New Testament this expression refers to any blood relations), but he is inviting them to go from considering what it means to be a member of a family to being in communion with God and with others. When God explains his intimate being he describes it in terms of Father and Son, and even the Holy Spirit is considered often from the perspective of love, the hallmark of every good family. A healthy and happy family is not only a blessing for its members, but for those who have the grace to know them as well. One of the greatest compliments you can give a friend is to say he or she is part of the family.
We know Mary is a great mother who loved and supported her son from the Annunciation all the way to Calvary and beyond. It’s safe to say that the “brothers” were incredulous about Jesus and what he was doing; in Gospel accounts of Jesus’ visits to Nazareth he lamented how little he could do there due to their lack of faith. In his response today he is paying a compliment to his mother while inviting his “brothers” to go beyond their blood relation with him to a faith that brings them into a communion with him, his disciples, and God–to become part of the extended family of all believers, by striving to do God’s will. His mother is not only a good mother; she has lived her entire life in perfect harmony with God’s will, and therefore she’s already his biological mother and well along to path to being the mother of all believers.
Let’s pray today for all families to be healthy, happy, and holy, and for all believers to treat each other like brothers and sisters, knowing it is God’s will for us.
Readings: Exodus 14:21–15:1; Exodus 15:8–10, 12, 17; Matthew 12:46–50.