Tuesday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Today’s gospel has to be seen in the context of the entire chapter and the passage that preceded today’s reading. Jesus has been tried and tested by the Pharisees about the Sabbath, forgiveness of sins and about signs. This is the final episode in the chapter. Jesus on hearing of the arrival of his mother and brothers does not shoo them off in disdain. Jesus’ criteria of a relationship with him as that of doing the will of God was in no way cutting ties with his earthly mother but firstly recognizing how Mary did the will of God perfectly in her life and that was what gave her that exalted position as the Mother of God.
Secondly, Jesus puts an end to the squabbling of the scribes and Pharisees by revealing the true meaning of a relationship with God. The formal relationship of a God to be feared was demolished and replaced with that of an intimate relationship equal to the intimacy of a mother and child, brothers and sisters.
The first reading describes that intimacy. God is a shepherd that has a predilective love for his sheep. God is merciful and delights in mercy and his fidelity to us lasts for a lifetime.
Lastly, Jesus used this method as a form of pedagogy, used it to reveal the new relationship that God wished to have with us. I would invite you to picture the scene where Jesus says these words and then gestures to the audience and establishes the Kingdom bond. It would have hurt his mother, created hope in the hearts of those who listened to him and infuriated the scribes and Pharisees. But Jesus had only love for everyone. In our lives too our understanding of our greater purpose, to teach, to instruct and to witness, we may hurt people. But as Jesus did, love directed his words and deeds, may this be our prayer and our action for this day.