Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tuesday of the Third Week of Ordinary Time

Hebrews 10:1-10
Psalm 40
Mark 3:31-35

REFLECTION: "Show Me Some Love"

Today we commemorate Fabian of Rome, an leader of the early Church who, after taking steps to organize the Church to survive persecution, found himself at the wrong end of the executioner’s determination during the reign of the emperor Decius. Some might argue that death, and a brutal one at that, at the hands of the government isn’t any kind of love to show to a faithful servant. 

Of course, one could say the same thing about Jesus’ words concerning his family, especially his mother, in our Gospel reading today.

Recently, in one of those internet discussions (okay, Facebook, specifically) that is probably best left alone, an individual posited that Mary was not special, and didn’t deserve to be remembered with any regularity in the Church. She was Jesus’ earthly mother, nothing more. And what passage of Scripture was proof-texted to make the point… Yea, you probably already guessed it… our Gospel reading from today.

In our passage, Jesus’ family, including his mother, are outside, asking to see him. And Jesus proceeds to give the ultimate dis to his mother… putting her in her place. After all, she’s quote the upstart. He probably heard her say, “all generations shall call me blessed” (Luke 1:48b) while he was in the womb, and was just looking for the day when he could lay the smack-down on her oversized ego.

That may be the narrative that some would seek us to believe, but in doing so, we miss the entire point of the passage.

In Scripture, Christians are repeatedly called adopted children of God. We are made a part of the family. On what basis? Doing God’s will. If we follow in his pathway, we are grafted into the family… we become a part of the work he is doing in ministering his redeeming grace to the world.

When follow in faithfulness with God’s will, we should find joy in doing so. That joy comes from knowing that God draws close to us… he is the one who ultimately privileges us by allowing us to come to him tenderly, as our ‘Abba’.

This also means that God is raising us up… far from slamming Mary and his brothers, Jesus is instead showing us his desire to lift us up and exalt all who bear his name as members of his family. We have the inheritance of Mary, and of all God’s beloved, ahead of us… joy, hope, and peace forever in Christ Jesus.

Sometimes, though, being faithful involves suffering, pain, and yes, even death. But such costs do not separate us from the family… from the love that is made known in Christ’s perpetually pled sacrifice. Even today, the Eternal Son stands, pleading the one perfect sacrifice before his Heavenly Father… just as he did in the days of Fabian.

And, just as Fabian could draw confidence in that fact no matter what travail faced him, we can as well… for Jesus still reigns, to the glory of God the Father.


That Christians everywhere
may be led by faithful pastors,
instructed by caring teachers,
and loved within the community of faith,
let us pray to the Lord:
Lord, hear our prayer.

That those charged with leadership in the Church
may be strengthened in their faith,
even unto death,
let us pray to the Lord:
Lord, hear our prayer.

That all of us would view our fellow Christians
as members of our own family,
showing love and forbearance to them in every circumstance,
let us pray to the Lord:
Lord, hear our prayer.

That those who are deeply fearful,
on account of a recent diagnosis,
uncertainty in life,
or the prospect of immanent death,
might find in us
and in others who bear the name of Christ,
ready companions on their journey,
let us pray to the Lord:
Lord, hear our prayer.

That the needs which we bear in our minds and hearts today
would be touched by the gentle power of the Spirit,
and lifted through the mediation of the Savior
before the Father who reigns on high…
let us pray to the Lord:
Lord, hear our prayer.