Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.” And he replied, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
No matter what, every time I read this gospel, I first think, “What! Jesus had brothers?!”
But this gospel is much less about Jesus’ family, I think, than about ours and God’s: this family of God grows when we do God’s will, when we love one another.
I don’t think I’m a particularly good example of this, but I do think about how many people call me “brother”—my three delightful blood brothers, of course, but then also my Jesuit community and, perhaps most surprisingly, a smattering of east and west African men who are refugees in Chicago, men whose families I have gotten to know and accompany in their challenging transitions.
When we reach out to others in generous love, our own and God’s family grow wider, creating more chances to see a former stranger as brother, sister, son or mother.
Who has become part of your wider family?
—Garrett Gundlach, S.J. is a Jesuit scholastic from the Wisconsin Province. He is engaged in Master of Social Work studies at Loyola University Chicago.
You were born into a small family.
There, you learned to love in small ways, and
from there, you left to share this love abroad.
From a small family, you then built a larger one.
You went to the margins of your world,
to the sick, the despised rich and the forgotten poor,
You went to the fisherman, the leper and the widow,
and you brought them together into a new family,
bound not by blood but bound by sharing love.
This wide family is our Church;
this cast of characters, including me,
is our Christian community.
Jesus, show me the way today
that I can stretch this family even wider.
—Garrett Gundlach, S.J.Please share the Good Word with your friends!