“WHOEVER DOES THE WILL OF MY FATHER IN HEAVEN IS MY BROTHER, AND SISTER, AND MOTHER” (Matt 12:50)
⏰Tuesday of the Sixteenth Week of Ordinary Time 2 (24 July 2018)
📖Mic 7:14-15, 18-20; Ps 85:2-4, 5-6, 7-8 (R.v.8a); Matt 12:46-50
The book of the prophet Micah ends with a prayer of forgiveness and an expression of hope in God for restoration. This is the hope that finds its fulfilment in Christ, who had said in John 12:32, “When I am lifted up from the earth, I shall draw everyone to myself.”
What many misread today as Jesus’ insult on his mother was actually a way of expressing the magnanimity of God’s mercy.
Among the Jews, blood relationship is a sacred thing. That plays out even in the way they perceive others in relation to redemption. That idea came up from the fact that God chose the people of Israel to be his very own (Deut 7:6) and gave them order not to intermarry with other nations in order not to be contaminated (cf. Deut 7:3). By keeping this injunction and others which the Lord gives them, they shall be his people and he shall be their God (cf. Lev 26:12; Ezek 36:28).
So for an average Jew, an uncontaminated Jewish blood is the one that would gain the redemption which the Messiah was to bring. Hence, when the people told Jesus that his mother and brethren were looking for him (Matt 12:46), the people were just trying to affirm his relationship with them by blood.
Jesus used the opportunity to catechize the people on the nature of his relationship with them. He taught them that his real relatives are those who do the will of God.
Instead of being an abuse of his mother, it simply elevates her even higher. In the first place, Jesus was born because Mary heard the Word of God and kept it. The Angel’s announcement to her (Lk. 1:38) was not an imposition. She was at will to refuse God’s plan but She accepted and her cooperation brought forth Christ. She therefore became Christ’s Mother, having kept and obeyed the word of God.
In the same way, Christ now proposes to us a relationship that topples biological identity. One comes in only through faith and obedience to the will of God.
We join the psalmist to pray for God’s mercy (cf. Ps 85:8) and that he may give us the grace to always remain part of Jesus’ relatives and so gain the good things that come from him. Amen.
Have a grace-filled day ahead. Peace be with you.