Proverbs 21:1-6, 10-13
In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus’ family comes to see Him, but the crowd around Jesus is so big they can’t get to Him. So Jesus is told that they are waiting for Him outside. Jesus’ response is not to stop everything to see them. Rather, He says something that probably caused the people there to wonder: "My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it."
I can’t see Jesus as dismissing His blood relatives. But at the same time, He is saying that His love goes beyond blood relations. And perhaps He is telling us what it means to be in a relationship with Him. Perhaps another way to say this is to imagine Jesus saying to us, "Those who want to have an intimate relationship with me must really listen to what I say, and live their lives accordingly. You must be willing to act on the words I give you. You must be willing to love each other."
Like Jesus, we are to look beyond members of our family, or members of our church or group, or members of our country, and see our sisters and brothers everywhere. And seeing them thus is to lead us to action. As we hear in our first reading from Proverbs: "He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor will himself also call and not be heard."
We need grace to see as Jesus sees, but we are not lacking in grace! For the One who looks on us with an incomprehensible love will give us what we need to "hear the word of God and act on it."
Fr. Phil Paxton, C.P. is on staff at St. Paul of the Cross Retreat and Conference Center, Detroit, Michigan.