First Reading: Ezra 6:7-8. 12b. 14-21; Psalm: 122. R. v. 1; Gospel: Lk 8:19-21
CHRIST IN OUR HEARTS
BY FR VALENTINE NNAMDI EGBUONU, MSP
Jesus was the only child of Mary. According to the account of today’s gospel, those reported as his brethren were actually not his siblings per se, but blood relatives. They were probably Jesus’ cousins or other extended relatives. Their reason for desiring to see Jesus was not stated. But it could be that they were worried about the condition of Jesus who had no time for himself even to eat as he carried out his ministry of preaching (Mk 3:21). It could also be that they desired to see Jesus to ask his opinion on some family issues. Whatever it was that made them came looking for Jesus, should be something worthwhile.
Jesus did not give them that special honour immediately; if at all he did later on. But he prioritised the Word of God above family and adherence to it above obedience to men. Jesus said, “My mother and my brethren are those who hear the word of God and do it.” This is no form of disrespect to Mary. In fact, Mary was more honoured by this exhortation of Jesus. According to St Bede, we become Jesus’ mother when we hear the Word of God and keep it. And when we bring forth the Word of God into the world through our words and actions, we become Jesus’ brethren too.
St Augustine further emphasised that looking out for Jesus does not imply that his mother and brethren do not believe in Jesus; “For his brothers, his relatives according to the flesh, who did not believe in him, of what advantage was that relationship? Even her maternal relationship, would have done Mary no good, unless she had borne Christ more happily in her heart than in her flesh.” So, we become the true brothers and sisters of Jesus when like Mary we happily receive Christ in our hearts than just knowing him as our saviour and God. Those who receive Christ happily in their hearts are those who hear the Word of God and keep it.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Lord Jesus, we pray for the grace to hear your word and to keep it. Amen.