My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.” (Luke 8:21)
In yesterday’s Gospel passage, Jesus reminds us that we are the light of the world. As Christians, we ought to be beacons of good conduct, self-discipline and high moral standards. When Jesus took our flesh, He lived as light to the world, a light that has continued to shine today.
By addressing ourselves as Christians, we pledge to continue shining Christ’s light, that is, to make Christ present in the world today. In this way, we immortalise Christ and become His family members.
In today’s Gospel passage, when Jesus was informed that his mother and brothers were standing outside wanting to see Him, He must have wondered: Is there anything more important than preaching God’s word?
This reminds us of what happened years before when Mary and Joseph found Jesus in the temple after some days of searching. Mary asked him: “Don’t you care that your father and I have been looking for you?” Jesus’ response was simple: “Am I not supposed to be in my Father’s house?”
In other words, for Jesus, the temple (not Joseph’s house) is His Father’s House. Jesus was just twelve years old when this happened. Even though Jesus went with Joseph and Mary and obeyed them, Jesus knew that His true family was not restricted to His biological ties.
Today, when He was told that His mother and brothers were waiting to see him, Jesus said: “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and put it into practice.” Jesus used this occasion to pass across some very important messages:
1. Anyone who hears God’s Word and puts it into practice is automatically a family member of Jesus. Regardless of your church, race, colour or nationality, you are family as long as you listen to and obey God’s voice.
2. Just as we cherish and respect our family members, God cherishes and respects those who hear and practice His Word. Jesus often expressed his disappointment with those who flocked around him merely for the sake of miracles and were not ready to repent or practice His teachings.
3. Since those who came to call Jesus were expecting Him to leave what He was doing to attend to his family, Jesus used the occasion to teach that this is exactly how God would leave whatever He was doing to attend to the needs of those who hear His Word and practice it.
4. It is not enough to hear the Word of God; we must also practice it. Many of us only remember God when we need His favours, but we toss His commandments aside daily. Instead of living as lights, we blend with the world’s darkness. Instead of behaving as family members of Jesus, we act as strangers, like the nameless and faceless crowd that flocked around Jesus.
Let us pray: Almighty, ever-living God, help me to live up to your expectations as a brother and sister of Jesus. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Bible Study: Ezra 6:7-8,12,14-20, Ps. 122:1-5, Luke 8:19-21).*
@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu