The WORD in Other Words by Fr Joey Ruega SVD (Philippines)
Tuesday Week 16 Ordinary Time, Ex 14:21-15:1, Mt 12:46-50
Filipinos are known to be family-oriented with close-knit family structures where respect for parents and elders are indispensable virtues.
The Jewish people were also family-oriented; family for them extended to the whole clan. In that patriarchal society, respect for elders was paramount as enshrined in the Lord ‘s fifth commandment, “Honor your father and mother.”
Jesus’ questions in today‘s gospel “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” might be construed as disrespect. Actually, Jesus simply seized the moment to teach His listeners a very important lesson about God‘s family. He laid down the conditions on how we can become members of God’s family or brothers and sisters to one another, “Whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother.”
Thus, belonging to God‘s family is measured only by faith and obedience to God‘s will; in other words, “discipleship.” If one wants to belong to God’s family, he/she ought to follow and live according to God‘s standards. There‘s no other alternative but to be like Christ for He is the way, the truth, and the life.
This beautiful offer of Christ remains relevant and true today. It continues to call us to be together as one family especially where racial, cultural, religious, political, and ideological discrimination is still prevalent.
In God‘s family we ought to be mothers, brothers, and sisters to one another — caring for one another which the world needs. As a faith community we offer a counter society where love, compassion, mercy, and charity are practiced and lived — as against a world that promotes individualism, hate, and discrimination.
Let us therefore ask ourselves, “Am I ready to be part of God‘s family and willing to say “Yes‘ to the invitation of Jesus Christ our Lord”?