Tuesday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time
At every Mass we hear, “At the Savior’s command and formed by divine teaching, we dare to say Our Father…” If one pauses to consider, really, the boldness of this statement, it is quite shocking. Hence we dare to call God our Father. The priest’s statement reminds us of two things regarding this great prayer:
Jesus told us that we are His friends if we do what He commands us (John 15:14), if we obey Him—the word means “to listen”. This is also what a disciple does: a disciple listens to the teacher and does as the teacher instructs. This does not make us family with Jesus, however, but friends. So what is Jesus trying to tell us today? Being a child of God—being a son or daughter of the Most High—means doing the will of the Father.
At the message of an angel—who himself was merely relaying God’s message—Mary said, “Let it be done to me according to your word.” She is not only Jesus’ mother for having born and raised Him, but chiefly because she heard the word of God and acted upon it. As St. Benedict might say, Mary listened “with the ear of the heart” and conceived the Word of God there before ever the Word was conceived in her womb. Likewise we must be more than mere students—disciples—of the Word, more than slaves simply doing what they are told. Jesus teaches us how to be good children in this way by His own childhood example, being raised by Joseph and Mary: He was obedient to them. (Luke 2:51) Likewise the Father, speaking to Peter, James and John at the Transfiguration, exhorts the apostles to listen to Jesus (Mt. 17:5) because He IS the Word of God.
When we hear the word of God and act upon it, when we obey our Father, then we are truly His children, brothers and sisters of Jesus. Jesus tells us that His very food is to do the “will of the one who sent” Him (John 4:34); this is what it is to be a child of any parent. What must have struck the crowd—and what strikes many who read today’s Gospel passage—as somewhat of an insult to His earthly family is, truly, an invitation to become a part of His eternal family.
This is the Word through which all things were made, the Word that transformed nothingness into light. Imagine, then, how our own heart—listening to the Word with the attentiveness a trust of a child—could likewise be transformed?