We Are Chosen

The mother of Jesus and his brothers arrived at the house.
Standing outside, they sent word to Jesus 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.”
(Mark 3:31-35)

Scripture Study

3:32 your brothers and your sisters in Semitic usage, the terms “brother,” “sister” are applied not only to children of the same parents, but to nephews, nieces, cousins, half-brothers, and half-sisters; cf. Gn 14:16; 29:15; Lv 10:4. While one cannot suppose that the meaning of a Greek word should be sought in the first place from Semitic usage, the Septuagint often translates the Hebrew ’āh by the Greek word adelphos, “brother,” as in the cited passages, a fact that may argue for a similar breadth of meaning in some New Testament passages. For instance, there is no doubt that in v 17, “brother” is used of Philip, who was actually the half-brother of Herod Antipas. On the other hand, Mark may have understood the terms literally; see also 3:31–32; Mt 12:46; 13:55–56; Lk 8:19; Jn 7:3, 5. The question of meaning here would not have arisen but for the faith of the church in Mary’s perpetual virginity.

3:35 the will of God: Obedience to the Father is more important than being related to Jesus biologically. St Thomas explains this by saying that Christ “had an eternal generation and a generation in time, and gave preference to the former. Those who do the will of the Father reach him by heavenly generation […]. Everyone who does the will of the Father, that is to say, who obeys him, is a brother or sister of Christ, because he is like him who fulfilled the will of his Father. But he who not only obeys but converts others, begets Christ in them, and thus becomes like the Mother of Christ. Baptized Christians are children of God and brothers and sisters of Jesus through the Holy Spirit (Jn 1:12; Rom 8:29; Heb 2:10–11). Membership in this New Covenant family is maintained through a life conforming to God’s will (Mt 7:21). brother … sister … mother: Christ widens the scope of his spiritual family to include his disciples, not to exclude his Mother or his biological relatives

Scripture Reflection

Friends, in today’s Gospel Jesus identifies us as his disciples. So what do we discover about ourselves? First, that we are a chosen race. As I’ve said many times, our culture puts a huge premium on choice, our choice, personal choice. We care, above all, about freedom, self-direction, and autonomy.

But the Bible is eminently clear that what matters above all is not our choice but God’s choice. We Christians, we followers of Jesus, have been chosen by God for God’s purposes. And this choice is not a matter of reward, as though we are being singled out because of our gifts. Just the contrary.

Your life is not about you. Your will nestles in an infinitely higher will. Your mind is an ingredient in an infinitely more capacious mind. And so the primary question of your life is not, “What do I want?” but rather, “What does God want?”

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.