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Tuesday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

My dear encountered couples:

Are you and I related to Jesus Christ? We all might think it is baptism that makes us brothers and sisters of Christ. And that is a beginning, but it is not enough. Though through baptism we receive divine life, the same life the Son of God possesses, to be his real brothers and sisters, to be real children of God requires more than a basic spiritual DNA likeness. It takes a meeting of the minds and wills, it takes love in action. For instance: We all know what biological fatherhood is. The man who with our mother is responsible for our coming into this world is our biological father. But the man who helps to raise us from infancy to adulthood is the one who carries out the real work of fathering.

And that might be someone other than our biological father. It may be a stepfather, a foster father like St. Joseph was to Jesus, it may be an uncle or a stranger who has taken over our care and supplies our needs who is the real or practical father to us. It can be the same with mother of course, and with sisters and brothers.

Blood sisters and brothers don’t always live the part of sisters and brothers. It can be close friends who are really sisters and brothers to one another. That is what Jesus is talking about. It is not blood line, it is not even God’s life in us that makes for a sufficient relationship; it is something that goes much deeper. It is a meeting of the heart and will. It is love in action that we show one another.

“Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” Jesus asked the crowd gathered around him. Then extending his hands to his disciples, he said, “There are my mother and my brothers. Whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is brother and sister and mother to me.”

And so, I ask again: Are you and I related to Jesus Christ?

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