Jesus was the prophet, the beloved Son of God, born of Mary, parented by Joseph, cousin of John the Baptist. Jesus was the One who invited, called and renamed his beloved friends and followers. He was the child who scared his parents to death when he stayed behind to preach to the elders in the temple. He was the man who approached his cousin asking to be baptized by water; only to be baptized by the Spirit. He was the young boy who played with the village children, assisted his mother with chores and learned his father’s carpentry skills. He was the Son who wrestled with temptations as he gradually grew in awareness of his own calling in relationship to his Father. He was the prophet who challenged Jewish authority while living the spirit of the Jewish law. He was the One who healed the sick, befriended the lonely, approached the outcast, touched the dis-eased and beckoned the forgotten. He was the One who washed the feet of his beloved and welcomed the sinner to wash his feet. He was the One who fed the hungry, comforted the grieving and raised the dead to life. He engaged women as well as men, foreigner as well as Jew, the acceptable and the unacceptable.
His universal invitation was to a deeper more genuine place of freedom. “Do not be afraid” and “Peace be with you” were his gentle greetings. “Love one another as I have loved you.” “Love the Lord your God and your neighbor as yourself.” His touch was gentle, his message challenging and his position steadfast.
His right-side out message was invitation to a deeper intimacy – to a place of openness and freedom. His invitation was expansive and inclusive, not exclusive and restrictive.
In today’s readings we hear that Jesus does not respond to
the arrival of “his mother and his brothers”
as might be expected. He does not excuse himself to attend to them
privately, nor does he welcome them publicly. Unexpectedly, surprisingly
he expands the reality of their intimate relationship - between
son and mother and brother to brother. “And stretching
out his hand…Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever
does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and
mother.” This is no affront, no betrayal of his beloved
mother. It is an inclusive claiming and invitation to all, to me,
to participate in that relationship. I am being invited and claimed
into that relational experience of intimacy. I can only imagine
Jesus’ love for his mother and hers for him. My appreciation
of what it has meant to be a mother, a sister, a daughter, a father,
a son, a brother as meaningful or challenging as that has been is
now forever shattered. Jesus’ love has dissolved the artificial
biological parameters of those relationships. Jesus is saying to
me, “I not only love you as my mother,
my brother, my sister, you are my mother, my sister,
my brother. Enter into my love, my beloved.”
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