Loving Obedience Gathers God’s Family

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Tuesday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time

Mark 3:31-35
The mother of Jesus and his brothers arrived at the house. Standing outside, they sent word to Jesus and called him. A crowd seated around him told him, “Your mother and your brothers and your sisters are outside asking for you.” But he said to them in reply, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking around at those seated in the circle he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”
Opening Prayer: Lord, help me to pray as a true disciple, as one who prays out of obedience—not obedience forced by a tyrant, but obedience given freely to someone I love in order to please him.  
Encountering Christ:

  1. Make the Family Proud of You: Throughout the world in Jesus’s time and even in many places still today, the most important relationships were blood relationships. Each person was seen primarily as a member of a group related by blood. They were a member of a particular tribe, clan, or family and were expected to work to benefit that group. Nothing was more important.
  2. Cousin Jesus Is Embarrassing Us: Jesus had begun to act in a strange way. Reports about him were getting back to Nazareth, and his family group didn’t know what to make of it. It sounded like he had gone crazy and was doing things that might bring shame upon the family, so they sent out a group to bring him back home and make him stop behaving so strangely. Perhaps they brought Mary along with them because they hoped she would talk some sense into him.
  3. Water (of Baptism) Is Thicker Than Blood: Jesus made clear that he was teaching something new—that family ties were no longer the most important relationship a person can have. Instead, he replaced them with a stronger bond—the bond of obedience that ties us to God. In doing this, he was rejecting the claim of these “brothers” over him, but not Mary’s, because no one was ever more lovingly obedient to God than she was.

Conversing with Christ: Lord, you give me the opportunity to be your child, not because I am related in any physical way to you, but through my childlike obedience. Children obey because they love their parents and want to please them. Help me to please you through my obedience and become your true child.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will try to live obedience to your will in every moment.
For Further Reflection: I Believe in Love by Father Jean C.J. d’Elbée.
Father James Swanson is from Miles City, Montana, joined the Legionaries of Christ in 1983, and currently works in Atlanta, Georgia. He enjoys books, craft beers, and extreme birding.

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