Tuesday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
The incident depicted in today’s Gospel must have been shocking to those present: after all, what was more important in the lives of the Jewish people than family, save their worship of God?
There are several traditions that seek to answer the questions that arise regarding the brothers of Jesus but one thing is certain: the people speaking to Him understand them to be close relatives of some kind and thus deserving of Jesus’ attention. In an act by which Jesus seems to disown His family He, rather, shows us yet again that there is more here than meets the eye.
Some recoil at the thought that Jesus disowns His mother, much like He seemed to disown Joseph when they found Him in the Temple as a child. Yet, as Jesus reminds us today, Mary became the mother of Jesus not by any natural means but by her obedience to the will of God. Was it not her consent to the angel’s message that cleared the way for the Son of God to enter into the world? Jesus, rather than disowning His mother, claims her quite clearly for those of us who know the truth of His origin.
Similarly when He stretches out His hand toward His disciples and calls them His brothers and sisters, He is teaching us that He now belongs to a greater family where membership is not determined by a shared blood—though this is certainly to come—but by virtue of obeying the Father. Is this not part of belonging to the same family even in the ordinary sense, that those who are under the providence and leadership of the same parent tend also to be brothers and sisters of one another?
God gave us His commandments, Jesus gives us the Gospel so that we might come to know the Father’s will and when we obey His will, when we love God and do what He asks of us, we are united in the love of God: the Holy Spirit. We enter into the very family of the Trinity and become, truly, the brothers and sisters of Jesus.