Commentary on the Gospel of

Fr. Johnson Joseph Thurackal CMF


In Israel, the large family or the community was the basis for social living together. It was the protection of families and of the people, the guarantee of possession of the land, the principal vehicle of the tradition, and the defense of identity. It was the concrete way on the part of the people of that time to incarnate the love of God and love toward neighbor. To defend the family was the same as to defend the Covenant.

Now, in order that the Kingdom of God manifest itself in community living, the people had to overcome the narrow limits of the small family and open themselves again to the large family, to the community. Jesus gave the example. When His own family tried to take possession of Him, He reacted and extended the family: "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." He created a community.

It was in the context of growing confrontation with the Religious leaders, that Jesus received a visit by his family. His mother and relatives were apprehensive over his welfare. His family did not fully understand his ministry and his ways. Jesus made a shocking claim when his mother and relatives asked for him. There is a greater family existing than human family which has supremacy over blood relationship. It is our human experience that a true family does not exist just because of common blood. Too many families are in turmoil and are torn apart. Therefore, something more is needed. True family is based on a common relationship with God. This is a spiritual relationship based on doing the will of God. All those who commit their lives in doing God’s will are bound together spiritually as one family.


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