MASS, GOSPEL AND COMMENTARY: THE TRUE FAMILY OF JESUS (Lk 8:19–21).
The mother of Jesus and his brothers came to him but were unable to join him because of the crowd. He was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside and they wish to see you.” He said to them in reply, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.”
Gospel Commentary from the Navarre Bible, Commentary to the Gospel of St. Luke (with permission)
- 19-21 These words of our Lord show us that fulfilment of the Will of God is more important than kinship and that, therefore, our Lady is more united to her Son by virtue of her perfect fulfilment of what God asked of her, than by the Holy Spirit’s using her to make Christ’s body (cf. notes on Mt 12:48-50 and Mk 3:31-35).
Gospel Commentary from the Navarre Bible, Commentary to the Gospel of St. Matthew (with permission)
- 46-47 “Brethren”: ancient Hebrew, Aramaic and other languages had no special words for different degrees of relationship, such as are found in more modern languages.
- In general, all those belonging to the same family, clan and even tribe were “brethren”.
- In the particular case we have here, we should bear in mind that Jesus had different kinds of relatives, in two groups — some on his mother’s side, others on St Joseph’s. Mt 13:55-56 mentions, as living in Nazareth, James, Joseph, Simon and Judas (“his brethren”) and elsewhere there is reference to Jesus’ “sisters” (cf. Mk 6:3).
- But in Mt 27:56 we are told that the James and Joseph were sons of a Mary distinct from the Blessed Virgin, and that Simon and Judas were not brothers of James and Joseph, but seemingly children of a brother of St Joseph.
- Jesus, on the other hand, was known to everyone as “the son of Mary” (Mk 6:3) or “the carpenter’s son” (Mt 13:55).
- The Church has always maintained as absolutely certain that Jesus had no brothers or sisters in the full meaning of the term: it is a dogma that Mary was ever-Virgin (cf. note on Mt 1:25).
- 48-50 Jesus obviously loved his Mother and St Joseph. He uses this episode to teach us that in his Kingdom human ties do not take precedence.
- In Lk 8:19 the same teaching is to be found. Jesus regards the person who does the will of his heavenly Father as a member of his own family. Therefore, even though it means going against natural family feelings, a person should do just that when needs be in order to perform the mission the Father has entrusted to him (cf. Lk 2:49).
- We can say that Jesus loved Mary more because of the bonds between them created by grace than because he was her son by natural generation: Mary’s divine motherhood is the source of all our Lady’s other prerogatives; but this very motherhood is, in its turn, the first and greatest of the graces with which Mary was endowed.
TOPIC: WHAT MOTIVATES US TO DO GOOD?
SEPT 22, 2020: HOLY MASS