Spiritual Family

Mark 3:31-35

2Sm 6:12b-15,17-19/Psa 24:7-10

‘Who are My mother and My brothers?’. . . whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother.’
(Mark 3:33,35)

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?

Then the mother of Jesus and His ‘brothers’ arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call Him. A crowd was sitting around Him, and they told Him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.” He replied, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” Then He looked at those seated in a circle around Him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will 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. And His message then as it is now is: we can only enter into and remain in this relationship if we do the will of the Father.

Today’s Gospel reading makes us pause to reflect on two other lessons that our Lord may be imparting to us. First is about belonging to a group of believers that we consider as our ‘larger family’ here on earth (apart from our own natural family). This ‘family’ is more representative of the Father’s divine family in heaven. This spiritual family, which is also called a renewal community, may be a charismatic prayer group, or a brotherhood of Christians who are bound together by the Gospel values of Jesus Christ. The other more important lesson is that all our intimate relationships in this life are nothing compared to our relationship with God. We must therefore never grow too fond or attached to anyone or anything in this world. Instead, let’s just be thankful that we have holy relationships that will last forever! Why bind ourselves to one another with a tie that we know one day will be broken?

I recall the first time we joined our spiritual family, the BCBP. At first it felt awkward being addressed as “brother” or “sister” by people whom we had just met. But later, it felt great feeling a sense of belonging, being part of a larger family that we had chosen to join. We discovered the essence of God’s family in the fellowship of those who bared not only their souls to one another, but treated each other generously in Christ. In many instances we witnessed this — in the financial assistance to a brother or his wife who was hospitalized; in the generous “abuloy” to another whose poor brother suddenly died from a stroke; in the prayer petitions through text messages from members in need of divine intervention, and many other acts of charity. Jesus said, “This is My commandment, that you love one another.” (Jn. 15:17) Doing God’s will simply means loving one another. In this larger family, we came to realize that we all need a support group, without which we 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 and our Father in heaven. As Rick Warren said in his book, Purpose Driven Life, our spiritual family is our safety net of supportive friends that we can fall back on in times of great loss or inevitable tragedy. No man stands alone.

Father, You have blessed us with both our natural and spiritual families. Help us to love them unconditionally 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. Amen.

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