The WORD in other words (2021) by Fr. Simon Boiser, SVD (Germany)
Tuesday 3rd Week in Ordinary Time
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
A friend, a non-believer, attended Holy Mass and told me later, “Why are you calling the people in the church ‘brothers and sisters’? You are not related.” His question gave me a point for reflection about the difference between our biological and spiritual families.
It is a blessing in life to have a family, where parents and children support one another, and husband and wife love each other. But such families are becoming rare. Many children today suffer from parents who don’t love each other or who don’t care for them. There are family conflicts where a son chooses a different work instead of joining a father’s business, or a daughter marries a man her parents don’t approve of. Sometimes devotion to family clashes with commitment to the Lord, especially when the family business keeps one out of church and prevents one from serving the Lord.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus did not deny the relationship with his biological family. He expanded the family circle to include others. He pointed to a spiritual rather than a physical kinship as the basis for God’s kingdom. We belong to a spiritual family that transcends the boundaries of age, race, nationality, and gender. It is an extended family based on our common faith in Christ that binds us together thru God’s Spirit and makes us children of God. That is why we call our fellow-Christians “brothers and sisters in Christ.”
There is a difference between honoring your father and mother and giving them authority over your life. Parental authority must always be subordinate to God’s authority. As we grow in our relationship to God, we are called to seek God’s will for our lives and follow the leading of God’s Spirit, even when it means overriding the wishes of our parents.