Today’s Gospel Lection is one of those curious passages that often give Catholics a head scratcher:
The mother of Jesus and his brothers came to him
but were unable to join him because of the crowd.
He was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside
and they wish to see you.”
He said to them in reply, “My mother and my brothers
are those who hear the word of God and act on it.”
Ok, so is Jesus dissing his Blessed Mother here? Why did she show up, anyway?
I think a couple things are at play here:
1) Mary is bringing Jesus’s relatives to Him so that they may also know what she knows. Remember the whole Gospel according to Luke: this is the one where Mary ‘ponders all of these things, keeping them in her heart.’ She knows who her Son is, she is trying to help the others accept that as well.
2) The response that Jesus gives is not a dismissal of Mary, rather it praises her unique role in Salvation History. When she received the invitation from the Angel, while she first ‘pondered what sort of greeting this might be,’ she also said yes, she acted upon that invitation. As such, she is the first disciple of her Son, and the model for all other disciples to follow.
The lesson for today, we do not just read the Scripture, we do not just ponder the Eucharist (although there is a place for that in the Church in contemplative communities); we take what we hear and what we receive and put them into action.
Our relationship with Christ is foundational, but it plays out in the world.