The mother of Jesus and his brothers arrived at the house. Standing outside, they sent word to Jesus and called him…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.”
Christ’s words are nothing less than amazing when you consider the types of people following the Lord. Who are the Lord’s brothers, sisters and mother? They are those who were once the gravest of sinners. They are those who may have been rejected by mother, father, brother, sister and society!
In the Muslim world there exists a twisted and devilish tradition known as “Honor Killings.” In the Muslim world, a father or brother has the duty (and right) to kill a child or sibling that has offended the family’s honor. I heard a lot about these Honor Killings while visiting the town of Bethlehem. I was deeply saddened to hear the horror stories of young girls who were raped by a relative and then executed by a parent or sibling in order to hide or erase the irreparable shame the young girl had brought upon them. Islam is popular among men for obvious reasons. When a man sins against a woman, the man typically gets away with it; while the woman gets stoned to death because of it. Marriage and family are sacred institutions in the Muslim world. But human life is not! In fact, honor trumps life when shame or disgrace is encountered! Because of this devilish twist, I consider Islam a heresy of Christianity.
Who are my brothers, sisters and mother? No doubt they are the ones who do the will of the Father. But when they do not; when they rebel against their father, who then are they? For example, when they decide to leave or abandon the home or the faith? Then who are they? What would the Lord say to them? Without a doubt, he would say, these are my lost brothers, sisters and mother.
Obedience is kingly; but mercy is heavenly. The Lord did not come to scatter but to gather. He did not come to dismiss his children but to call out their names.
In Islam, a father may execute his sinful son. In Christianity, the Father sacrifices his sinless Son. Although the Lord carries out an execution; the execution is upon himself! What a glorious God we have! No wonder why we can call God, LOVE. No wonder why we can give God the name Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
In today’s Gospel passage, the Lord reminds us why his family is heavenly and so unique. It is not based on race, patriotism or blood. It is based on faith, hope and love. The Lord’s family is comprised of those who sought God’s will in their lives. Secondly, they followed it faithfully. Thirdly, they showed mercy and compassion towards others. This is what defines, binds and holds together the Lord’s family. This is what should define and bind and hold all our extended families together.
May the Lord, through his brotherly love, seek my heart, mind and will so as to be more endeared to Him, emboldened by Him and entitled by Him. You are my son with whom I am well pleased!