FAMILY FIRST?

Saturday, July 4, 2015

 

“While he was still speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers were standing outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, ‘Look, your mother and your brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.’ But to the one who had told him this, Jesus replied, ‘Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?’ And pointing to his disciples, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.’” (Mt 12:46-50)

 

Jesus has a loving mother and other close relatives, but He nonetheless doesn’t abandon the people to whom He is ministering at this moment, while “still speaking to the crowds,” to rush off and greet His immediate family. Why not?

Here Christ is warning against familial exclusivity; that is, the type of family that is closed in on itself, preferring its own little familial circle to the exclusion of others. Such a self-serving and self-centered family life is not only egotistical, but can lead to various forms of unhealthy familial codependency. Hence a Christian family, the “little church” within the broader society, is not self-isolated, but called to be inclusive of others; to share its warmth and love with those “outsiders” who may be in need of attention and inclusion. Today I am called to share the gifts of my own family’s love and warmth with those in need who may cross my path.

 

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