While he was still speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers were standing outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, “Look, your mother and your brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.” But to the one who had told him this, Jesus replied, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
The recent deaths in Minneapolis, Baton Rouge, and Dallas, the subsequent conversations on racial tensions in our country, and the political climate of the upcoming election all invite us to ask: “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?”
We are a united country, but our conflicts run deep. Our many identities divide us: race, age, gender, sexual orientation, faith, etc. Society and the environment in which we have grown up inform our perceptions and prejudices. We reject others. We define ourselves by who we are not. We ostracize.
Christ reframes all things, turning them upside down. A king, born in a stable. A savior, hung on the cross. God, eating with sinners. Jesus’ message in today’s gospel is not that he disowns his family, rather that he breaks it open to include all people of good will.
We must begin to consider that the problems of this country are our problems. Unless we strive to create a bond of kinship with those who don’t share our same identities, we will continue perpetuating these systems of violence.
As you move through this day, be cognizant of those people who fall outside of your “family.” Pray for the grace to continue breaking it open toward acceptance and kinship, so that we can continue building God’s kingdom where all belong.
Life-giving God, author of freedom and possibility, strengthen our hearts throughout this day.
Help me realize that each person I meet, each situation I encounter are graced with your strength
and presence. May I become your hands and heart and voice today. Amen.
—The Jesuit prayer team