'More determination is required to subdue the interior man than to mortify the body; and to break one's will than to break one's bones.'--St. Ignatius of Loyola
Gospel text (Mt 12,46-50):
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.”
Today, to start with, the Gospel surprises us: «Who is my mother? (Mt 12:48), wonders Jesus. It would seem the Lord is showing a contemptuous attitude towards Mary, his mother. Nothing of the sort! What Jesus wants to make quite clear is that, in his own eyes —God's eyes— the crucial value of a person does not lie on flesh and blood facts, but on the spiritual disposition to accept God's will: «Then He pointed to his disciples and said, ‘Look! Here are my mother and my brothers. Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is for me brother, sister, or mother’» (Mt 12:49-50). At that time, God's will was for Jesus to evangelize those who were listening and for these ones to actually listen to him. This was a priority over any other value, no matter how dear. To abide by his Father's will, Jesus Christ had left Mary and now He was preaching far away from home.
But, who was ever more willing to abide by God's will than Mary? «‘I am the Lord's servant’, Mary answered. ‘May it be to me as you have said’» (Lk 1:38). This is why, St. Augustine says that Mary, first accepted God's word with a spirit of obedience and, only afterwards, she conceived it in her womb for the Incarnation.
God does not love us because we may be saints, rather it is the other way round: we are saints because He loves us. The first one to love is always our Lord (cf. 1Jn 4:10). Mary proves it when she says: «For He has looked upon his handmaid's lowliness» (Lk 1:48). In God's eyes our own lowliness is evident; but He wants to magnify us, to sanctify us.
It is not enough to simply call ourselves followers of Jesus because we have been baptized. Baptism welcomes us into the Christian family. However, the call of Baptism is to recognize that we are made in God’s image, and to live into that sacred call by recognizing each and every human person as a child of God.
Our care, concern, service and working for justice for and with others must reach beyond our familiar comfort zones to include all. The Gospel is a message of inclusivity rather than exclusivity or selectivity.
So I guess the question remains, “How do we do this?” Let us all contemplate the words of Mary at the wedding of Cana. When there was a need, the young couple approached Our Lady and asked her for assistance, and what did she say when she directed them to her son? Do whatever He tells you! (Jn 2:5).
There is the solution, plain and simple. And it will be with Mary’s help that we do just that, whatever He tells us (i.e. the will of God). To attempt this endeavor alone is impossible, but with God all things are possible (Mt 19:26)!