Jesus and His Family
OTHER HOMILY SOURCES from Navchetana
2016 Tuesday of the 3rd Week in the Ordinary Time
Hebrews 10:1-10;Psalm 40:2, 4, 7-8, 10-11; Mark 3:31-35
Members of God’s family
Jesus had come that he might bring dispute in the family. Although what is reflected in the words if Jesus is the lived experience of the believers of the early church yet, is very much the experience of Jesus himself. Since he wanted to bring about the Kingdom of God bringing an end to every other force working against the Kingdom, he was sure to meet opposition from these forces. In today’s gospel, we see the result of the calumny spread by some people that he was out of his mind (3:21).
The reaction of the family to this calumny can be read in two ways: It must have been caused by the genuine feeling of concern about Jesus who is defamed by the enemies. The family wants to save him from further defamation. They must also have heard about the conspiracy of the Pharisees and the Herodians (3:6). In this case, they were concerned with his very safety. On the contrary, the possibility of the unbelief of his own relatives cannot be ruled out (Jn 7:5). If unbelief is the reason for his family’s reaction, we need to assume that they have joined those who work against the Kingdom of God. In this case, they stand outside the circle of Jesus and those who are listening to him are counted in his circle. Whatever way we read the story, we find Jesus redefining his familial relationship. It is no longer based on the biological relationship, but based on faith in Jesus. It is those who do the will of God by listening to Jesus and believing in him that are his mother, brothers and sisters!
In this surprising reaction of Jesus one wonders if he is rejecting his relationship with his biological family. However, Mary is the first human being who believed and did the will of God at the beginning of the process of incarnation. She would be there with him at the beginning of his public ministry at Cana (Jn 2:1-12) and at the end of it at the foot of the cross (Jn 19:25-27). Similarly, James, brother of the Lord was at the head of the Church at Jerusalem (Gal 1:19).
The response of Jesus is also a shaded critique on unbelieving Jews who prided themselves on the fact that they were Jews who belonged to the family of God. It is a corrective given to them and all others who aspire for an automatic inclusion of themselves in the family of God. Whoever you are, in the scheme of the Kingdom of God, God’s familial relationship has to be merited by means of faith and the corresponding works. Dr. Benny Thettayil CMI
2017 Tuesday of the 3rd Week in Ordinary Time
Heb 10: 1-10; Ps 39: 2 and 4ab. 7-8a. 10. 11; Mk 3: 31-35
(St Francis de Sales – Feast)
The true kinship
Here Jesus lays down the conditions of true kinship. It is not solely a matter of flesh and blood. It can happen that a man is really nearer to someone who is no blood relation to him at all than he is to those who are bound to him by the closest ties of kin and blood. Wherein lies this true kinship?
True kinship lies in a common experience, especially when it is an experience where two people have really come through things together. It has been said that two people really become friends when they are able to say to each other, â€œDo you remember?â€ and then go on talking about the things they have come through together. The basis of true kinship lies in a common experience, and Christians have the common experience of being forgiven sinners.
True kinship lies in a common interest. Only when isolated worshipping Christian units became part of a group which was bound together by a common interest did real kinship come into being. Christians have that common interest because they are all people who desire to know more about Jesus Christ. True kinship lies in a common obedience. The disciples were a very mixed group. All kinds of beliefs and opinions were mixed up among them. A tax-collector like Matthew and a fanatical nationalist like Simon the Zealot ought to have hated each other like poison and no doubt at one time did. But they were bound together because both had accepted Jesus Christ as Master and Lord. Men can become friends of each other when they share a common master. Men can love each other only when they all love Jesus Christ.
True kinship lies in a common goal. There is nothing for binding men together like a common aim. The churches will never draw together so long as they argue about the ordination of their ministers, the form of church government, the administration of the sacraments and all the rest of it. The one thing on which they can all come together is the fact that all of them are seeking to win men for Jesus Christ. If kinship comes from a common goal then Christians above all men possess its secret, for all are seeking to know Christ better and to bring others within his Kingdom
The true and authentic family of Jesus is not based on blood relationship; it consists of those who do the will of God. Those who are standing outside also can be part of this family if they are doing the will of God. Mother Mary stands first because she was always doing the will of God. She is really the Mother of Jesus as well as the one who fulfils the will of God. Jesus is single-minded in his dedication to Godâ€™s will. Those who follow him must have the same mind of doing Godâ€™s will. Everything else is secondary including blood relation to Jesus. The disciples of Jesus must come out such passion to do Godâ€™s will, not to act in their own interests and wishes but for the spreading of Godâ€™s Kingdom. In baptism Jesus submitted himself to Fatherâ€™s will; in our baptism, Christians have also surrendered to the same plan. Fr Shepherd Thelapilly CMI
2018 Tuesday of the 3rd Week in the Ordinary Time
Hebr 10: 1-10, Mk 3: 31-35
MAXIMIZING THE DIVINE IN ONESELF AND IN OTHERS TO BECOME JESUS’ BROTHER OR SISTER
In our life situation we observe different kinds of relationships among the people: blood relations, family relations, professional relations, relationship among friends, ideological relations etc. All these relationships have their own place in a person’s life. In many cases we notice that relationship among two friends is stronger than any other relations, including blood relations. The depth of the relationship depends on commitment and the concern for each other. Very often friendship compels a person to undergo any suffering for the sake of his/her friend. Ideologies or commitment to a cause can motivate a person to transcend all other relationships. Terrorists and Maoists are examples for this kind of behavior. A disciple of Jesus can have different kinds of relationships, but he or she must be able to transcend all kinds of relationships in order to follow the call from God.
When Jesus was told by the crowd that his mother, brothers and sisters were waiting outside to see him, he responded with a question, Who is my mother? Who are my brothers? Then he made the statement, Whoever does what God wants him to do is my brother, my sister and my mother. The implication is that those who do the will of God are the brothers and sisters of Jesus. Now the curial question is how we know the will of God or what God wants us to do. The Gospel of Mt. Chapter 25: 31 to 46 where Jesus speaks about the last judgment, the parable of the Good Samaritan and the parable of the rich man and Lazarus give sufficient insight to understand what the will of God is. Seeing the Divine in oneself and in others and maximizing the Divine is doing the will of God.
Jesus maximized the Divine within himself by going to the mountain to pray and as a result he could see God in others. He was busy with serving that God in different ways. He empowered all who came in contact with him by making them conscious of the Divine within them and guiding them to maximize that Divine. He told them, ˜You are not less than anyone because you are a son or daughter of God and God’s power is within you; make use of that power and overcome your weakness and solve your problem. Thus miracles happened.
If a disciple of Christ becomes aware of the presence of God in himself/herself and being conscious always of that God, life changes for him/her. His/her perspective and attitude towards others also changes. By being baptized and receiving the sacraments alone no one becomes a brother or sister of Jesus. These practices may or may not help a person to see the Divine within oneself and in others. But Contemplation, an appointment with oneself and God daily will lead to the consciousness of the Divine power within and the person will be energized by that power. That is how many saintly persons like Francis of Assisi, Fr. Damian and Mother Theresa got the power to reach out to the needy even at the risk of their lives. Jesus wants us to be his brother or sister not merely by symbols and rituals but mainly by our actions. The identity of a disciple of Christ is action, action that empowers others, especially the needy. Jacob Peenikaparambil CMI
See Today’s Readings: Year I, Year II
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