Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Third Week in Ordinary Time
Saint Vincent, Deacon and Martyr – Optional Memorial
(Celebrated January 23 only in the USA)
“Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking around at those seated in the circle he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” Mark 3:33-35
Jesus said many shocking things throughout His public ministry. They were “shocking” in that His words were often way beyond the limited comprehension of many who heard Him. Interestingly, He wasn’t in the habit of quickly trying to clear up the misunderstandings. Rather, He often left those who misinterpreted what He said to remain in their ignorance. There is a powerful lesson in this.
First of all, let’s look at the example of this passage from today’s Gospel. No doubt there was probably a sort of hush that came over the crowd when Jesus said this. Many who listened most likely thought Jesus was being rude to His mother and relatives. But was He? Is this how His Blessed Mother took it? Certainly not.
What this highlights is that His Blessed Mother, above all, is His mother primarily because of her obedience to God’s will. Her blood relationship was significant. But she was even more His mother because she fulfilled the requirement of perfect obedience to the will of God. Therefore, by her perfect obedience to God she was perfectly the mother of her Son.
But this passage also reveals that Jesus was often not that concerned with the fact that some misunderstood Him. Why is that the case? Because He knows how His message is communicated and best received. He knows that His message can only be received by those who listen with an open heart and with faith. And He knows that those who have an open heart in faith will understand, or at least ponder what He said until the message sinks in.
The message of Jesus cannot be argued and defended in the same way as some philosophical maxim can be. Rather, His message can only be received and understood by those who have an open heart. There should be no doubt that as Mary listened to those words of Jesus with her perfect faith she understood and was filled with joy. It was her perfect “Yes” to God that enabled her to understand all that Jesus said. Consequently, this enabled Mary to claim the holy title of “Mother” far more than her blood relation. Her blood relation is no doubt greatly significant, but her spiritual bond is so much more.
Reflect, today, upon the fact that you, too, are called to be a member of the intimate family of Jesus. You are called into His family through your obedience to His holy will. You are called to be attentive, listen, understand and then act on all that He speaks. Say “Yes” to our Lord, this day, and allow that “Yes” to be the foundation of your familial relationship with Him.
Lord, help me to always listen with an open heart. Help me to reflect upon Your words with faith. In this act of faith, allow me to grow deeper in my bond with You as I enter Your divine family. Jesus, I trust in You.
Saints for today – Saint Vincent (Celebrated January 23 only in the USA)