The Gospel text of today (Lk 8:19-21) provides the context for a provocative saying of Jesus. At some point during his ministry, Jesus was teaching in a home or other building. The crowds pressed in, leaving no room for any other people to draw near to Jesus. Then, unexpectedly, Jesus’ mother and brothers came so see him. But they were not able to do so because of the crowd. So, somebody told Jesus “Your mother and your brothers are outside, and they want to see you” (8:20). The response of Jesus if taken literally seems to present the picture that Jesus ignored his family. But an in-depth reflection is required for a proper understanding .

Jesus lived in a culture that deeply valued family. Thus, everybody gathered around Jesus would have expected him to attend to his mother and brothers, either by going outside to meet them or asking for some of the crowd to make room. But Jesus used this occasion to say something that would have shocked his listeners: “My mother and my brothers are those who hear God’s word and obey it” (8:21). The question is: Does it mean that Mary was not faithful to God’s word. Of course, Mary at the Annunciation abandoned and surrendered herself and entire life to God’s will despite the unfavourable conditions. So, what then was Jesus talking about?

For Jesus, that was an opportunity to address the problem of racism and tribalism. People do a lot of things, tell a lot lies, commit a lot of atrocities, just because their family member is involved. And many times, this extends to the community of God’s people. I am from Boki, I am of old Obudu decent, I am of Ugep, I am from Bakurr, I am from Yala, I am from Ibo, Yoruba, Hausa, mention them. Hence, if it affects my tribal brother/sister whether the person is wrong or right we’re not interested, we’re only interested in why should it be my brother/sister. This has caused so much division, disharmony and discord.

Today, Jesus tells us: Blood, language, tribe, colour, nation are all important natural realities, but in the supernatural reality of God’s family, they are only of Secondary or relative importance. He tells us, that the bonds of fellowship in the hearing and doing of God’s Word are even more important than the bonds of family ties. He tells us that, Baptismal water should be thicker than blood. And finally, he tells us that, to be a member of God’s family is to listen to God’s word and practice it. ARE YOU A MEMBER OF GOD’S FAMILY?

PRAYER: Help us, Lord, to be members of your family. Amen!



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