Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.
No wonder this woman is excited. Jesus has just shown that he has power to cast out evil spirits (Luke 11:14). That’s pretty impressive! Still, the woman seems underinformed. She praises Jesus by remarking how blessed his mother is to have him for a son. But there is more to Jesus than just the story of a local boy who gains celebrity. So Jesus responds by asking her to look not only at his earthly mother but also at his heavenly Father.
Natural ties between family members are special. Yet there is another kind of relationship Jesus wants us to experience. We belong to more than just our earthly family; we are part of the Church, the family of God! The old saying goes that blood is thicker than water. But when it comes to the spiritual life, nothing is thicker than the water of Baptism. We are bound to one another with spiritual ties that transcend race, social status, and homeland. Our family even transcends space and time—through all the saints who are right now in heaven praying for us. Best of all, it transcends creation itself—our Father is the eternal Creator of all that is.
The Church is God’s gift to us. It’s his way of keeping us together as a family. When we gather every Sunday, we hear “the word of God,” and we are invited to “observe it” (Luke 11:28). This is how God ensures that we’ll adopt his worldview—as any good father tries to do for his children. He teaches us his way so that we will grow up to be just like him.
Parents know that time spent gathered around the table is one of the best ways to cement their family’s bonds. A common meal is also one of the best ways for brothers and sisters to grow in their love and affection for each other. This is how God thinks too. That’s why he asks us to gather around his table and share in his heavenly meal. Taught by the Lord, fed by the Lord, and supported by one another—this is what it means to be the Church. This is why we are “blessed” beyond belief (Luke 11:28).
Word Among Us