While he was still speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers were standing outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, “Look, your mother and your brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.” But to the one who had told him this, Jesus replied, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?”
And pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
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.
It would be easy to interpret Jesus as slighting Mary in today’s Gospel. She shows up to see him in his traveling ministry and, when he is informed that his family has come, Jesus calls into question who he should consider his family. In that moment, we are given the chance to be counted among Christ’s brothers and sisters and mother while Mary’s role seems to be downplayed. Yet Mary is the mother of Christ precisely because she preceded all of us in seeking wholeheartedly to do the will of the Father. Even in this passage, she continues to follow Jesus and seek chances to draw near to him.
Do I truly wish to follow Jesus that closely and that persistently? Am I really willing to wholeheartedly make God’s will the center of my life? How deeply do I want to be Jesus’ sister or brother today?
—Nick Courtney, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic from the USA Central and Southern Province currently working at Strake Jesuit College Preparatory in Houston, TX, where he teaches history and coaches football.
Jesus, help me to listen for the will of the Father today. Grant me the grace to do that will as generously and as humbly as your mother. Give me the courage to live as one of your family. Amen.
—Nick Courtney, SJPlease share the Good Word with your friends!