1.23.18 Tues. w?k 3 -O.T. – (II)
2nd book of Samuel 6: 12b -15, 17 – 19
Gospel Mark 3: 31 – 35
His mother and his brothers arrived. Standing outside they sent word to him and called him. A crowd seated around him told him, “Your mother and your brothers* [and your sisters] are outside asking for you.” But he said to them in reply, “Who are my mother and [my] brothers?” And looking around at those seated in the circle he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. [For] whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
Homily: Fr. Mike Murphy Being a Brother of Sister of †Jesus
Why was it, on this particular occasion, that †Jesus seemed to ignore His Mother and relatives? It appears He was dismissing them in favor of His news friends: those sitting around Him. In the previous verses of the Gospel, †Jesus had selected His Twelve Apostles. Does †Jesus prefer them to His mother? We often see this behavior in teens. They want to distance themselves from family who are not as cool as their friends. But †Jesus is not a childish teen. †Jesus loved His mother; she was certainly one whom He could say: “Does the will of God”. †Jesus was using this moment to teach an important lesson about discipleship and the spiritual life.
At the heart of discipleship is not one who simply obeys doctrine. It is more than following Commandments or Canon Law. Christian discipleship is primarily a relationship; a relationship with Christ. It is a relationship of love, faithfulness, trust and kindness; a desire to unite all that I am, with the Lord. In our first reading, King David witnesses to three important elements of a relationship that identify us as a brother or sister of the Lord.
“David, girt with a linen apron, came dancing before the Lord with abandon” (2 Samuel 6:15).
David was not self-conscious about his relationship with God. He did not care what people thought of the way he expressed his faith and the joy he felt as a child of God. David danced “with abandon” in the presence of God. Some people disapproved of his behavior. One of his wives was embarrassed by it and we read that, as punishment, God made her childless. But David’s desire to praise God was more important than the criticism by others. Are we self-conscious when we express our faith in public? Do we say grace before a meal in a restaurant or at the home of friends? Do we speak about our faith to co-workers, friends or acquaintances? We may not sacrifice a lamb, or dance “with abandon” in front of the tabernacle, but do we in some visible way express our faith in God? Or, do we hold our faith so close to our chest that no one knows about it? It is a human trait to brag about a loving friendship or relationship. Parents are not shy about telling others of the accomplishments of their kids. Our relationship with God, who loves us intimately will hopefully extend beyond this life. Is our faith something we can joyfully express to others?
King David reveals a 2nd element of a relationship with the Lord:
“The ark of the Lord was brought in and set in its place within the tent David had pitched for it” (2 Sam. 6:17). The King of Israel, David himself, made ready the place where the ark of the covenant would reside. David was “intentional” about his faith in God and the works he would accomplish in the Lord’s name. Discipleship is more than an intellectual exercise of faith. It demands living what we believe. It is being “intentional”; having the intention to be a brother or sister of †Jesus; living a deep relationship with †Jesus. As in a marriage, relationships do not grow on their own. They demand two people working at it; sacrificing and doing the “heavy lifting”. The Letter of the Apostle James reminds us: “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:26). We must be “intentional” about our relationship with God if we desire to be a child of God.
Finally, David…then distributed among all the people…a loaf of bread, a cut of roast meat and a raisin cake” (2 Sam. 6:19). David shared what he had with the people. After the long journey to Jerusalem, he did not bid the people farewell and go off to a fine meal in his house. David was generous in sharing what he had with others. To be in a relationship with God, to be a brother or sister of the Lord, means that we imitate the Lord. God is never outdone in generosity and kindness. All of us can attest to how good God has been to us, especially, when we did not deserve it. To be a brother or sister of †Jesus is to live with generosity and kindness. St. Marianne Cope, whose memory we celebrate today, gave all she had to minister to those suffering with leprosy on the island of Molokai. †Jesus never tired of giving Himself to others. He never stops pouring His grace into our lives or answering our prayers. “Love one another as I have moved you” (John 15) †Jesus said to His disciples at the Last Supper. This is what it means to do the will of God.
†Jesus was not disrespecting His mother or relatives when they came to see Him. He was teaching us what it means to be His mother, sisters or brothers. It requires an unapologetic faith, an intentional faith, a faith expressed in generosity. If we live our faith fully in this way, †Jesus will point to us and say: “Here are my mother and brothers (and sisters)” (Mark 3:35).
In the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.