Then his mother and his brothers came to him, but they could not reach him because of the crowd. And he was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.” But he said to them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translation
Even though Pope Francis has just arrived in our country to help celebrate the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia (with stops in Washington, DC, and New York), today’s Gospel reading is, believe it or not, somewhat critical of the family.
Jesus’ family, including his mother, have come all the way from Nazareth to Capernaum, a distance of some 40 miles, to see him. In another Gospel passage, they have come to “restrain him.” The clear implication is that they don’t agree with what he is doing, or are at least hoping for an explanation.
But when Jesus is told that they have arrived, he says that his mother and family are those who hear and put into practice the word of God. Jesus isn’t saying it’s not important to love our families. Rather, the most important relationship in our lives is with God. Nothing comes before that, and it trumps even family ties. So the main focus of the World Meeting of Families is not, in point of fact, the family—it’s God.
—Fr. James Martin, SJ, is the author of our special series of reflections in honor of Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S. Fr. Martin is associate editor of America magazine;a frequent commentator in the media; and author of many books, including, most recently, Jesus: A Pilgrimage and his novel The Abbey.
Using the fingers on your hand, start with the thumb and pray these intentions in this order:
1.) The thumb is closest finger to you. So start praying for those who are closest to you. They are the persons easiest to remember. To pray for our dear ones is a “Sweet Obligation.”
2.) The next finger is the index. Pray for those who teach you, instruct you and heal you. They need the support and wisdom to show direction to others. Always keep them in your prayers.
3.) The following finger is the tallest. It reminds us of our leaders, the governors and those who have authority. They need God’s guidance.
4.) The fourth finger is the ring finger. Even though it may surprise you, it is our weakest finger. It should remind us to pray for the weakest, the sick or those plagued by problems. They need your prayers.
5.) And finally we have our smallest finger, the smallest of all. Your pinkie should remind you to pray for yourself. When you are done praying for the other four groups, you will be able to see your own needs but in the proper perspective, and also you will be able to pray for your own needs in a better way.
—Pope FrancisPlease share the Good Word with your friends!