Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.” And he replied, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God 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.
For many people family is a true blessing, the place where they are born, protected, nurtured and educated. It is in the family where many people learn to love and be loved. However, in order to flourish into our authentic selves, the relationship with the family eventually has to transform, and we gradually grow out of the experience and knowledge we gain from the family. This process oftentimes involves some real struggle as well as reconciliation and healing for the harm done.
Today Jesus’ word not only recognizes this human condition, but also invites us to go beyond it and pursue a higher calling to form our new family in God’s Kingdom. This new relationship connects us to the entire human family through a common commitment to doing “the will of God,” which transcends our human limitation.
How do you recognize others as your brothers and sisters within this new family?
—Chia-Yang Kao, S.J., a Jesuit scholastic of the Maryland province, is currently studying philosophy at Loyola University Chicago.
Do not look forward in fear to the changes in life;
rather, look to them with full hope that as they arise,
God, whose very own you are,
will lead you safely through all things;
and when you cannot stand it,
God will carry you in His arms.
Do not fear what may happen tomorrow;
the same understanding Father who cares for
you today will take care of you then and every day.
He will either shield you from suffering
or will give you unfailing strength to bear it.
Be at peace,
and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.
—prayer of St. Francis de Sales