When I read the gospel, I got confused and asked myself, “did Christ really disown his mother and brothers?” But upon reflecting on it, I realized that Jesus is not denying his earthly family when he asked “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” Rather, He was talking about God’s family in the kingdom of heaven. He emphasized that those who desire to enter the kingdom of heaven must first do the will of the Heavenly Father.
He gave his disciples as the perfect examples of who his mother and brothers are. Jesus clearly said that whoever does the will of his heavenly Father is his brother, sister, and mother. Jesus encourages us to establish a relationship with Him by becoming his disciple. This assures us of a concrete way to enter God’s kingdom and become part of God’s family.
In the context of being welcomed and becoming part of a family, I remember, one of my significant parish involvements—when I joined a charismatic community called “New Covenant Prayer Community.” It is where I experienced and had a taste of discipleship. It is a large community with an estimated membership of 100. We call each other brothers and sisters there. This community greatly contributed to my vocation because I fell in love with the sense of community and it is where my heart for discipleship was fostered. It is where my relationship with Jesus also deepened. Just like a true disciple, we would do discipleship missions together and we would share the Word of God in our weekly prayer gatherings. I always felt the delight of being part of this family. We would pray, praise and worship together. It is really a great joy to welcome new members to the community, a family that is centered in Christ. Whenever there are new members in the community, we would welcome them through a song:
Welcome to the family
We’re glad that you have come
To share your life with us
As we grow in love and
May we always be to you
What God would have us be
A family always there
To be strong and to lean on.
As a priest-in-process, I am challenged to become first a true disciple myself. Hopefully, in turn I could encourage others and welcome people to establish a relationship with Christ by becoming His disciple. As we journey with Christ here on earth as His disciples, He assures to welcome us in the kingdom of heaven and become member of God’s family. Through our authentic discipleship we become Christ’s brothers and sisters.
By: Sem. Adriane Gabito
Matthew 12: 46-50
While Jesus was speaking to the crowds,
his mother and his brothers appeared outside,
wishing to speak with him.
Someone told him, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside,
asking to speak with you.”
But he said in reply to the one who told him,
“Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?”
And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said,
“Here are my mother and my brothers.
For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father
is my brother, and sister, and mother.”