SAINT FRANCIS DE SALES, BISHOP AND DOCTOR (MEMORIAL)
Who are my mother and my brothers?
Who is your family? If someone asked you this question, you may think of parents, siblings, spouse, or children, or maybe beloved cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus introduces a new family that he is building for us, one that goes beyond bloodlines. This is the family of faith, united in love for Jesus and each other.
What does this family look like? It encompasses every age, race, nationality, culture, and income level. That’s a lot of people!
Although we will sometimes practice our faith alone—for instance, in times of quiet prayer or Bible reading—Jesus always meant for us to live and worship in community as well. He knew we would need the witness of others to build up our faith. He also knew that we would need leaders who could teach and explain the ways of the Lord to us. We need brothers and sisters to empathize with us, to grieve, rejoice, pray, sing, and share with us. And of course, God wants us not just to be on the receiving end of that support, but also on the giving end.
As wonderful as our spiritual family is, like any family, it’s not immune to conflict. We often don’t live up to our commitment to love Jesus and each other the way we should. And we may feel sad when someone close to us doesn’t share our beliefs or has lost their way or pulled away from us.
That’s why Jesus wants us to try to stay true to our Christian family, as imperfect as it is, and to deepen our relationships with each other. He knows we can develop a more intimate spiritual family around us, even if we start small. Is there someone in your parish whom God may be asking you to get to know a little better? Is there a Bible study or parish ministry you’ve been thinking of joining?
Whatever you do, remember that with Jesus as the head of this family, you’re always in good hands. He has claimed you as his own brother or sister and given you a host of siblings to help you on your path of discipleship.
“Jesus, thank you for calling me into your very own family! By your Spirit, help us all to build a community of faith and love.”
Psalm 40:2, 4, 7-8, 10-11