While he was still 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."
Introductory Prayer: Thy will be done! Because I believe in you, in your love, in your goodness, in your personal concern for me and for everything in my life – because I believe, I pray that your will be done. Because I have placed all my hopes for happiness, for meaning, for fulfillment, for peace – because I have placed all my hopes in you, I pray that your will be done. Because you have shown me your love and enabled me to begin loving in return, because I love you and want above all to please you and honor you, I pray that your will be done.
Petition: As I enter in prayer into the inspired words of your Gospel, open my soul to your grace, so that I can make your most holy will the sole quest of my heart.
1. The Context
Many commentators struggle to explain Jesus’ seemingly heartless treatment of his mother and his relatives (the term used for “brothers and sisters” in the Greek refers back to a Semitic term indicating “relatives” in general) in this passage. Perhaps after his rather caustic reply to the news that they were asking for him he took his leave from the crowd and went to spend time with them; perhaps he waited until finishing his discourse and then went to be with them; perhaps he simply denied himself the natural pleasure of spending time with his family in order to dedicate himself more completely to his mission. In any case, the evangelist (the writer of the Gospel) is much less interested in giving an explanation for how he treated his relations than in highlighting the lesson Christ gives in this tense moment: the secret to intimacy with God.
2. The Secret to Intimacy with God
What human relationship is more intimate, more familiar, more solid than that between a child and his mother, or between brothers and sisters? These relationships never end, and they lead to an incomparable mutual knowledge. Jesus tells us how our relationship with him, with God, can reach equal depths: “whoever does the will of God is my brother, and sister, and mother.” Seeking, embracing, and fulfilling God’s will in our lives leads us into intimate knowledge and familiar intercourse with God. Do you wish to know God, to be close to him? “God’s will” is the foolproof formula for supernatural success.
What other “success” formulas am I sometimes tempted to follow? Why?
3. Mary Knew the Secret
Many spiritual masters detect a compliment in the apparent coldness of Jesus’ response to his mother’s request. After all, who has fulfilled the will of God more completely, more lovingly, more trustingly than Mary? A Regnum Christi member practices true devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, which consists in a filial love for her and a determined imitation of her virtues – among these, her heartfelt docility to God’s will stands like an awesome mountain among beautiful hills.
Mary gave up her only Son to the ignominy of the cross, because it was the Father’s will: is there anything I cling to in my heart that inhibits me from wholeheartedly embracing God’s will for me?
Prayer: Dear Jesus, you know that I long to come closer to you. I long to be as close to you as a mother is to her child, as a brother to his sister. I want to live in deep, intimate friendship with you every moment. In this short passage, you have shown me how: by doing your will. I want to Lord, but so often it’s hard. It’s hard to know what you want of me, and hard to carry it out. Take my hand and lead me Lord, just as Mary took your hand and led you, teaching you to live and to pray: “thy will be done.” Amen.
[If I need especially to work on my prayer life]: I will make the prayer “Thy will be done” my refrain for the day: when I am in between activities (e.g. in the car, walking down the hall to the office, taking a break…) I will make that prayer and speak to you, heart to heart, about what your will is, for me and for the world around me.
[If I need especially to work on my charity]: Today I will speak to that person who I know really needs a boost of faith (colleague, friend, family member…); I will speak to them about their hopes for success and happiness. I will unobtrusively and sincerely try to understand where they are looking for success and why, and I will gently try to show them how much Christ has to offer them.