my brother and sister and mother

“For whoever does the will of God
is my brother and sister and mother.”
Words from our gospel today, according to Mark.

Some might not be comfortable in calling Jesus “brother.”
They might argue it diminishes the dignity of God.

A God who is King.
A God who is all powerful.
A God who should be held in highest of esteem.

But that’s not what Jesus is saying here.
He’s clearly calling us brothers and sisters – if we do the will of God.
Why?

Because he wants to underscore how important we are.
How high we rank on the order of Creation.

By doing the will of the Father,
By submitting ourselves to him,
By dying and rising in in the waters of baptism, we become children of the Father.

Jesus subjects himself to God’s will always.
And when we do, we become like him.

Calling Jesus “brother” isn’t an informal salutation that diminishes his dignity.

On the contrary, it raises our dignity.

And if that’s true, it’s important for us to remember that all who do God’s will are our brothers and sisters, equal in dignity.

Equally worthy of honor and respect.

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?”

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