20TH JULY 2021
WHO IS MY MOTHER? WHO ARE MY BROTHERS?
You can choose your friends but you cannot choose your family. If you say that from today somebody is not your friend then it means we will have to accept and agree with you but when you say that you no longer recognize your parents and siblings, we will have a lot of questions to ask, because we will not be content with your decision.
Family issues matter in our world and in our cultures. What affects one family member also affects the other family members because family members are connected.
We cry and laugh together. We work, eat, and relax together. We even visit each other no matter the distance, we pray together and encourage each other no wonder we say east or west, home is the best above the rest like a bird comfortable in a nest.
We also say that blood is thicker than water.
This is why the words of Jesus in today's Gospel passage may strike our ears as outlandish, if not downright offensive, and even heretical. It sounds like he is denying the family ties that hold us together. How can he publicly decline to meet his mother and brothers? Our Gospel passage comes from Matthew 22:46-50 and after it, the writer takes us directly to Matthew 13:1-3 by saying that, " The same day Jesus left the house and went to the lakeside, where he sat down in a boat to teach a large crowd that had gathered around him. " This means that Jesus never met his mother and brothers.
Jesus did not deny his family but he was radically extending the notion of the family itself in order to move beyond blood ties to include all those who join him in living according to the law and logic of God's already present Kingdom.
After explaining spiritually who his mother and siblings are, Jesus gives the example of the Parable of the Sower whereby he talks of the seed falling on different types of soil and those that fell in good soil produced corn; some a hundred grains, others sixty and others thirty.
Let us note here that the seed fell in good soil, not on good soil meaning that the seed went deep into the soil and was not just on the surface.
Jesus is passing across the message that our quality as good soil embeds us deep into the family of God in which we are able to put aside self-indulgent and self-destructive tendencies and see that God is encouraging and inviting us to read the signs of time and know what it entails when it comes to being a member of God's family.
Being a member of God's family according to Jesus is doing what Jesus' Father in heaven wants us to do.
Jesus' family, therefore, includes anyone who recognizes that something has to be done anew not maintaining the status quo. It is a family that one belongs to by accepting the invitation to enter it and follow its logic, logic that defies cultural and ethnic definitions. Belonging to this family requires the act of distancing, of self-differentiation, of disengagement, and of courage so that you are able to stand and do what God's family calls you to do.
Jesus did all these acts so as to direct us deep into God's family.