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Monday, January 23, 2012

Sparkles of Light (Mk 3:31-35)

24 January, 2012, Tuesday, 3rd Week of the Year


The mother of Jesus and his brothers arrived at the house.  Standing outside, they sent word to Jesus and called him.  A crowd seated around him told him, "Your mother and your brothers and your sisters are outside asking for you." But he said to them in reply, "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."
Mk 3:31-35

            Our Gospel for today may be seen as two parts.  First is about the crowd informing Jesus regarding “his mother, brothers and sisters.”  Secondly is the response of Jesus toward such identification. 
In the first part, many would immediately ask, does Jesus really have brothers and sisters?  We know Jesus have Mary and Joseph as his earthly parents, but does he really have sibling or siblings?  Well, we really can’t say.  Perhaps.  Yet we really don’t know.  However, one important reference we can find about his so called “brothers and sisters,” which can somehow shed light for us, is on Mark 6:3.  The passage goes, “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?”  Clearly, those identified as “brothers and sisters” of Jesus by the crowd are those who are close to him, who are his disciples, who are his followers.  They are Jesus’ earthly family.                  
            The response of Jesus from the second part invites us to look beyond his earthly family.  Jesus asked, “Who are my mother and my brothers?”  And he answered, “Here are my mother and my brothers… for whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”  We are all part of Jesus’ family, his spiritual family.  And this is manifested in our faith in Jesus.  This faith in Jesus, following his words and deeds, makes us one body of Christ.  Hence, we become God’s adopted children who can loving call God “Father” like Jesus.              
            As a Jesuit seminarian, I am currently staying in an international community.  We are sixty seven Jesuit seminarians from 14 different nations taking courses from Philosophy and Theology.  With different cultures, backgrounds and personalities living together in one roof, one could simply imagine what sort of community we are.  There will always be unavoidable differences and challenges along the way that brings about tension and difficulties in our community.  This simply points that we are still a human organization.  However, despite of these differences and challenges, whenever we come together in prayer, whenever we receive the Holy Eucharist, whenever we go to our studies and apostolates, we become friends in the Lord, we become one community, we become one family.  And I think this is what it means when Jesus refers us as his “brothers and sisters.”    
The Gospel for today invites us to be part in this one body, one family in Christ.  It is not only having faith in Jesus.  No.  It entails more.  We are also invited to face our differences and challenges with one another, and to work towards the Kingdom of God.  Most of the time it is difficult to do this because there will always be differences and challenges among us.  Even as one human family, it is hard to work for peace, unity and equality.  But we are invited not to lose hope and don’t stop.  As long as we continue to forgive and love one another, we become true “brothers and sisters” in Christ.  
St. Francis de Sales, pray for us.

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