The selection from today’s Gospel is one of my favorites. The story gives us a look into how family is defined by Jesus, while additionally helping us to understand how we should order our lives.
I picture Jesus in a home preaching, loving, and mixing with the masses. And then He is told his mother and brothers have arrived. The expectation I supposed is that He would stop and go outside to be with his family. Rather than leaving His circle, He asks them “Who are my mother and my brothers?” and declares that they—the ordinary men and women seating with Him—are in fact His family. He winds it all up saying, “For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3:35)
Jesus isn’t rebuking or disowning His relatives. After all, don't we know that they, too, were doing the will of God? But what Jesus says is that it isn’t the blood relation, it isn’t the hard work of parenting, or the years of a shared household that makes a sisterhood or brotherhood in the eyes of God. It is the hearts united in Him that form new bonds as a family in Christ. It is hands united as we work side by side to complete the will of God.
At Blessed is She, we refer to you all as our sisters. It isn’t a term that we use flippantly or as slang for a female friend. We are united through the bonds of Christ, through His pain, His suffering, His Cross, and His redemption. Just as biological brothers share a mother and father, we too share individual and intimate relationships with God the Father and Our Blessed Mother, to whom we are given as adopted daughters. We share an intimacy with Jesus our Christ, our Beloved, as we are each on our own journey to better know Him, love Him, and serve Him. Our bonds of sisterhood aren’t just in this life, but continue into the next.
Whatever the circumstances are surrounding your family of origin, know that you have a sisterhood—a family here too, as we are connected in and through our love and service of Christ. Pray today with me for all our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world, that they may have peace and strength to complete the will of God, and that they may know that they are not alone.
Offer a prayer to the Holy Family today, the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph, and Our Lord, in thanksgiving for your relationship with them.
MaryRuth Hackett is Director of Operations for Blessed is She. She loves historical fiction, dark chocolate, watching her children play soccer, a good cup of coffee (decaf please) and the quiet of the early morning. She holds a PhD in Educational Psychology and has a passion for helping parents understand the way their children grow and develop. You can find out more about her here.