Expanding the Notion of Family
Jesus’ disciples had a hard time accepting the fact that Jesus was attracting so many followers and had so much activity going on—miracles, healings, restored relationships—that they didn’t even have time to eat. They told Jesus that he was out of his mind. Imagine saying that to Jesus! In essence, they were saying, no begging Jesus to take a break!
The graphic used for this reflection suggests two things. The disciples had a hard time understanding why Jesus attracted such huge crowds. For them, it was still a mystery. Essentially they were asking, “Why do all these people flock to him? What do they want? How can we stop this?” Perhaps they were limited in their thinking of “how big” the community could become. Perhaps they were concerned about “right-sizing.” Perhaps they wanted to claim Jesus as their own.
When Jesus’ family comes looking for him, perhaps trying to provide him an escape route, Jesus instead expands their notion of who belongs. He uses the biological images of mother, sisters, and brothers and expands the relationship—the belonging to—“anyone who does the will of God.”
This weekend, we are invited to reflect then on how both our natural families and our faith families support each other in doing the will of God. The Holy Spirit gives us “new life” in both families. How is the Spirit inviting us to refine, to refresh the “why” of our following Jesus? Where is the invitation “follow me” leading me, my family, my community?
Apart from being his brothers and sisters, we are also, Jesus tells us, his mothers. What could Jesus mean by that? I am going to seriously reflect on that. I’d be happy to share with any of you.