July 21, 2015 Tuesday: 16th Week in Ordinary Time
The True Family of Jesus
A pastor of a Born-again Christian group received a call from a church that offered him a salary four times what he was then receiving. Being a devout man, he spent much time in prayer trying to discern what God wanted him to do. One day a friend met the pastor’s young son on the street. “Do you know what your dad is going to do?” he asked. “Well,” replied the youngster, “Dad is praying, but Mom is packing!”
Jesus in today’s gospel says: “Whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother and sister and mother,” (v. 50). We should not understand this statement as Jesus’ rejection of Mary His Mother. If there is anyone who does the will of God the Father most perfectly, it is the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is because if to be His disciples is doing God’s will, then, she qualifies with flying colors. She is pictured in the gospels as she who hears the word of God and does it. At the annunciation, she says: “I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word,” (Luke 1:38). St. Elizabeth described her as the woman “who believed,” (Luke 1:45). St. Augustine said that Mary is more a mother of Christ because she fulfilled God’s will perfectly than because of her physical motherhood. It was by faith she gave Him birth, it was by faith she conceived Him.
The Vatican II document, Lumen Gentium (no. 58) also said that: “In the course of her Son’s preaching she received the words whereby, in extolling a Kingdom beyond the concerns and ties of flesh and blood, he declared blessed those who heard and kept the word of God…as she was faithfully doing…”
In other words, this gospel passage emphasizes that each one of us can be very close to Jesus if we strive to do God’s will. To seek the will of God is the first condition in order for us to be children of God.
But how can we discover God’s will in our lives? Bob Mumford in his, Take Another Look at Guidance, compares discovering God’s will with a sea captain’s docking procedure: A certain harbor in Italy can be reached only by sailing up a narrow channel between dangerous rocks and shoals. Over the years, many ships have been wrecked, and navigation is hazardous. To guide the ships safely into port, three lights have been mounted on three huge poles in the harbor. When the three lights are perfectly lined up and seen as one, the ship can safely proceed up the narrow channel. If the pilot sees two or three lights, he knows he’s off course and in danger.
Mumford continued to say that God has also provided three beacons to guide us. The same rules of navigation apply: the three lights must be lined up before it is safe for us to proceed. The three harbor lights of guidance are: a) The Word of God (objective standard); b) The Holy Spirit (subjective witness); c) Circumstances (divine providence).
Together they assure us that the directions we’ve received are from God and will lead us safely along his way.
Fr. JS Benitez