Choosing to be God’s Family

Tuesday of Week 16 in Ordinary Time

Jesus was having a tough time gaining acceptance from people in his hometown. This concern motivated his immediate family to seek him out, hoping to take him home and care for him. Whatever they thought of his mental health must have influenced this course of action. Being from a culture of tight-knit nuclear families, they would take it upon themselves to “deal” with family situations within those same confines, away from the public eye. And Jesus takes the opportunity to explore what it means to be family. “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers? … Whoever does the will of my Heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother.” His family could have taken that as a rebuff of their concern, but the rest of us can take it as incentive and encouragement to attain some familial status with Jesus by “doing the will of the Father.”

And how do we go about doing the will of the Father? Some people have a knack of imposing their will on others by identifying their authority as coming from God, and therefore their will as an expression of God’s will. Perhaps we need to sharpen our skills of discernment. “You will know the tree by its fruit,” Jesus tells us. Clearly what Jesus says and does shows his connection to the Father. He is ultimately the fulness of the revelation of God. So if we want to know what the Father is like, we need look only to Jesus.

And by imitating Jesus, listening to his teachings and putting them into practice, we will be drawing closer in likeness to the Father. By our baptism Jesus has already chosen us to be like himself, to share in his eternal inheritance as daughters and sons of God, and to call on God as Father. It is still up to us to respond and confirm that exalted status by our “doing the will of the Father.” Genetic bonds are impressive. But Jesus is more impressed by our obedience to his teachings and imitation of his example. God does not ever rescind his choice of us. But it is still up to us to confirm that choice. How would we justify our claim to be members of God’s family on the day we have to give an account of our lives if we never actually took Jesus’ words to heart and made some effort to live by them? Remember, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.” At least he is consistent.

We offered this mass for the repose of +Catherine Glover.

Rolo B Castillo © 2020

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