Family in the Father’s Will

Matthew 12: 46-50
Mi 7:14-15,18-20 / Ps 85:2-8

Whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother.
(Matthew 12:50)

To be Christ’s brother or sister,
This we must follow willingly -
God’s will: to love one another,
To be one in God’s family.

While He was still speaking to the crowds, His mother and His brothers appeared outside, wishing to speak with Him. Someone told Him, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, asking to speak with you.” But He said in reply, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother.” (Matthew 12:46-50)

Reflection

Jesus did not let the interruption of his mother and cousins’ arrival disrupt His discourse with the crowds. Instead, He used the occasion to 1) express His deep affection for His disciples, who had left everything to follow Him, and 2) to emphasize that our spiritual relationship (with His eternal Father) is more important than our intimate but temporal kinships here on earth.

Our Lord was not exaggerating on the first point. After all, how much more proof of His love can One Who died on the cross for our sins show for His followers? On the second point, the writer of Hebrews said of Him, “He who sanctifies, and those who are being sanctified all have one Father. Therefore, He is not ashamed to call them ‘brothers’, saying, I will proclaim Your Name to my brothers, in the midst of the assembly I will praise You.” (Hebrews 2:11-12)

However, kinship with Jesus by following the will of God in our lives is never as easy as being born into a human family and being obedient to our parents. To be a member of Jesus’ family is to imbibe all the lessons He has been teaching us in the Scriptures. Following the will of God means submitting to the doctrines of our Church, against the more popular (and modern) teachings of the secular world. Developing a spiritual relationship means seeking and seeing a spiritual meaning in the ordinary day-to-day events in our life, as we are guided by the Holy Spirit. But what an enormous privilege it is to belong to Christ’s family! What blessings! What grace! “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, Abba, ‘Father!’ The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, suffering with Him, so that we may also share in His glory.” (Rom.8:14-17)

On a personal note, although I belong to a large close-knit family, it is both with sadness and joy that I feel a closer affinity with most of my brothers and sisters in our praying community than I do with one of my ten siblings, who does not share the same zeal for our Church and faith. Nevertheless, I still keep praying for him, that one day He too will join the more important, eternal family of Jesus Christ.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for our large, close-knit clan, for our departed loving parents who produced eleven children, 36 grandchildren, and 19 great-grandchildren (so far), and for giving us a loving community, where brothers and sisters in Christ truly care for each other, constantly growing in His love and care. Amen.

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