2 Samuel 6:12B-15, 17-19
Mark 3:31-35


It is interesting to understand why some organizations have a policy of not hiring relatives or siblings. This is because it can lead to a situation where people compete for benefits rather than jobs based on their professional abilities. Along with these ideas is this sense of indebtedness, where one receives a favor and has to return it in various ways. This creates many problems in the workplace. For example, imagine you apply for a job that matches your expertise, but you are not hired. Instead, someone who does not meet the job requirements gets the job because they are a friend or a relative of the director.  It is undeniably true also that family ties are stronger than those we have with others. However, the family of Jesus that St. Mark presents to us in our Gospel for today seems to contradict those “values system” mentioned above.

To gain a better understanding of this passage, let’s take a look at the entire chapter to see how Mark gradually unravels the true meaning of family:   Jesus enters a synagogue where he encounters a man with a shriveled hand. The Pharisees were present and observed his actions. Despite it being the sabbath day, Jesus heals the man. This act of healing incites the Pharisees to plot against Jesus. In the middle of this chapter, Mark presents the “messianic secret” that is to rebuke them not to make Jesus known; then appointed the twelve to preach, heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils. It is said in verse 20 that in the house where he entered a multitude flocked together that he could hardly eat bread, while in verse 21 tells that those belonging to him, or his family said He is out of his mind. This claim of Jesus’ madness was supported by the Scribes by accusing that Jesus is possessed by Beelzebul. Isn’t that sad that despite the good Jesus did, His own family labeled Him as insane.

The pericope we have in today’s gospel tells us that Jesus was with the multitude while his brothers and mother calling from outside.  Jesus’ response seemingly set aside His mother and brothers, by saying “who is my mother, or my brethren? And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, behold my mother and my brethren, but Jesus gives us a new definition of family:  those who do the will of God can be called His true family. He takes as His closest family members any who trust Him and shows that trust by listening to and keeping His words. In other words, His family members by faith would be closer to Him than any family members by blood who do not trust in His name.  Does this Markan sense of family negate the presence of Mary or our family ties? Certainly not. Instead, Jesus brought us to a higher level of understanding of a true family.

To conclude this reflection, I would like to invite you to listen this song: CLICK HERE 

Sr Rosana Estoque CP is a Passionist Religious, and the Pastoral Associate at St.Brtigid’s Chruch, Marrickville.