“My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.”
Early family dynamics and experiences are often the most formative factors in a person’s personality. The shared experience over time with family members, whether parents or siblings, provides the basis for the closest (and often must frustrating, too) relationships in a person’s life. When Jesus in the Gospel utters the quoted line above, it should give some pause about what he means to be part of his family.
His “family” is not related to him through blood. They are united together through something else, which to Jesus is deeper than physical characteristics. His family is united together by a shared desire to live for God in the world. They are the people transformed by the revelation of God through the Hebrew Scriptures and now in the Word of God, Jesus. They live with integrity in that their convictions are echoed in their actions. Instead of the shared experience of growing up together, Jesus’ family shares the experience of laboring for God in the world.
The power of a shared desire can unite apparent dissimilar people. Different starting points in life, challenges, and experiences do not have to keep people apart. A shared desire to serve the Lord can soften our sharp edges of division within society and the Church at times. Let us pray we can recognize the good desires in others to serve God, and that we may have great desires to serve God also.
Who is someone you are close to because of a shared desire to serve God?