16th Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Mic 7:14-15, 18-20
Shepherd your people with your staff, the flock of your inheritance, that dwells apart in a woodland, in the midst of Carmel. Let them feed in Bashan and Gilead, as in the days of old; As in the days when you came from the land of Egypt, show us wonderful signs. Who is there like you, the God who removes guilt and pardons sin for the remnant of his inheritance; Who does not persist in anger forever, but delights rather in clemency, And will again have compassion on us, treading underfoot our guilt? You will cast into the depths of the sea all our sins; You will show faithfulness to Jacob, and grace to Abraham, as you have sworn to our fathers from days of old.
Gospel: Mt 12:46-50
WE ARE SEPARATED THROUGH BAPTISM: One could imagine how surprised the children of Israel must have been when they saw the marvel that the Lord had worked before their very eyes. They had walked on dry land but the chariots and the charioteers of Pharaoh’s army perished in the water. This was the ultimate separation of the Israelites and the Egyptians for indeed the Egyptians were not seen again. Jesus in the Gospel says that those who follow the will of His father are His brothers and sisters. Just like the Israelites went through the Red Sea and were separated from the Egyptians, we are also separated by God through our faith in Christ and baptism. We become the family of God and Jesus speaks about us as His brothers and sisters free from the bondage of sin and death.
While Jesus was speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers appeared outside, wishing to speak with him. Someone told him, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, asking to speak with you.” But he said in reply to the one who told him, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother.”
DOERS OF THE WILL OF GOD: The reply of Jesus, “whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother” is giving us a new meaning for all those who do the will of the Father. It is not to water down our blood relationship but to augment it. When we accept God as our Shepherd and our guide definitely, we listen to him and seek his will. This requires a constant listening and turning to him in all situations of life. Sometimes we are much preoccupied by our own plans and programs that we hardly have time for him. It is here that we remind ourselves what the Psalmist says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labour in vain who build it …”. (Psalm 127:1-2). Let us gaze our attention on to Jesus, who is our Saviour and Master (cf. Jn 10: 10).
Prayer: Lord help us to seek your will in all situations of life.
THE EXTENDED FAMILY OF JESUS: Jesus makes use of the occasion of the arrival of his mother and relations to speak about a new family of believers. Everyone who listens to him and does the will of his Father is part of the family of God. He invites people to come to him and be part of the Kingdom of God. He establishes as strong a bond with his followers, as that of a mother, father, brother or sister. This relationship is not reserved for a few; every person has access to the membership in God’s family. Let us listen to the Word and live according to the will of our heavenly Father. Today’s saint Lawrence of Brindisi, Doctor of the Church reminds us, “God is love and all His operations proceed from LOVE….” Bound together in God’s love we can build up God’s family, the Kingdom of God where everyone is concerned about the other. It should give us a lot of joy that we belong to God’s family and our faith connects us with people all over the world. Mary is the Mother of this large family. With Micah let us pray, “Shepherd your people with your staff, the flock of your inheritance.”