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Tuesday of the Twenty-Fifth Week in Ordinary Time

My dear encountered couples:

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.”

These words of Jesus may sound harsh to our ears. After all, family typically is the center of our lives. However, Jesus is not denying his family. Rather, his statement broadens the concept of family. He states that “anyone who hears the word of God and acts on it” is his mother, brother and sister. Thus, if we strive to hear the word of God and then act on it, we also are part of Jesus’ family.

The problem is: it is easier to hear the word of God than to act on it. To act on Jesus’ word calls each of us to love every person we encounter, even the individuals we may not like. He calls us to stretch ourselves and act in a way that may go against the grain. Yet, Jesus lived these words each and every day. And He calls us to do the same. Today be mindful of seeing every person you encounter as “a mother, brother or sister.” What a wonderful gift to give to the other person and also to yourself!

So, we not only hear the cry of the poor, but we do something about it. What we do is up to us, but I have to believe it means more than just reflecting on the suffering of the poor. It means doing things to alleviate the suffering. It means taking action that is “right and just.”

Possibly spending time with those needing companionship and understanding, donating to an agency that provides necessary services to those in need, getting out to vote for candidates whose platforms reflect the teachings of Jesus. Just suggestions.

And if we are still struggling to determine how best to act on the word of God, there is no better model than Jesus himself.

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