Christ’s Family

Mark 3: 31-35
2 Sm 6:12b-15,17-19 / Ps 24

“Who are My mother and My brothers?” And looking at the apostles sitting around Him, He said, “Behold, My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother.”
(Mark 3:34-35)

If we want to be Christ’s brother,
What do our words and acts reveal?
Do we show love for one another,
As He has taught us to be God’s will?

His mother had arrived with some of Jesus’ close relatives, and standing outside they sent word to Him. The crowd of people inside informed Him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for You.” Answering them, He said, “Who are My mother and My brothers?” And looking at the apostles sitting around Him, He said, “Behold, My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3:31-35)

Reflection

Our Lord was not ignoring His own mother and relatives when they came to see him, but only took this opportunity to convey an important lesson about the kingdom of God. On this occasion He was not taking His blood relationships for granted, but was simply emphasizing a higher, more lasting spiritual kinship, which is the family of God. This teaching is a valuable truth about the fellowship of believers who belong to a much larger family here on earth (apart from our own natural family), which is more representative of the Father’s divine family in heaven. This spiritual family may be called a renewal community, a charismatic prayer group, or a brotherhood of Christians who are bound together by the Gospel values of Jesus Christ. And His message then as it is now is: we can only enter into this relationship if we do the will of the Father.

Following Jesus can at times put strains on relationships especially if members of the family belong to different churches. My niece is married to an American Baptist pastor, and no longer attends mass with her parents. But she is very active in their church and devoted to spreading the Good News. She said that while her natural family might be opposed to her beliefs, she takes comfort in the fact that there is a larger, and more important spiritual family to which we all belong, where we all see Jesus as the same Savior, and the same God as the Father of all His children.

“Whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother,” Jesus said as He regarded His apostles around Him. They had all left their former way of life to follow Him, and eventually to follow God’s will. I remember the time when we first joined our renewal community. Total strangers were calling us “brother” and “sister”. Back then it was a new thing for us, but we thought it was great, because it gave us a sense of belonging, being part of a big spiritual family. It was here that we learned how God intended different communities under His Church to become our spiritual families. Each is a fellowship of people, loving and caring for one another, bound together in a common relationship to Christ. In our spiritual family, we also learned submission to authority – to our group leaders, directors and chapter head. This eventually taught us to submit to our Church, and to the will of God, our Father – for our own good.

In this larger family we have realized the importance of a support group, without which most of us would be no match against the forces of evil. No soul can stand alone. How fortunate are all those who are now in one of God’s spiritual families: as we draw closer to our brothers and sisters in community, we draw nearer to Christ.

Father, You have blessed us with both our natural and spiritual families. Help us to love them constantly in good times and in bad, as it is Your will for us to follow the example of our Lord Jesus Christ in all our relationships. Help us to be open to one another that we may be open to Your will. Amen.

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