Commentary on the Gospel of
“Who are my mother and my brothers?”
Throughout the Gospels, Jesus confronts a society divided by an intricate code separating the clean from the unclean, the righteous and the sinner, insider and outsider. He turns that society upside down, breaking down the codes that divide God’s family, restoring the broken and excluded to wholeness and community, inviting those outside to a place of special honor in the feast that God has prepared.
This tension is displayed in the contrast between Jesus’ old family—constituted by blood kinship—and his “new family,” constituted by shared discipleship. Jesus’ relatives assume that their kinship gives them a particular claim on Jesus: he belongs to them, not to this crowd. His response could upends the traditional code of “family values”: that “blood is thicker than water.”
That challenge applies equally to the new Christian family. Do we cling to Jesus, trying to keep him to ourselves, jealous of his love for the crowd? Instead of claiming family privilege on the basis of race or blood we define the family of Jesus on the basis of doctrine. But do we believe that God’s family consists only of Christians? Heed his words: “Whoever does the will of God is my brother, my sister, my mother.”