Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Daily Office Reflection: Families of Choice

Psalms 38 * 119:25-48; Proverbs 17:1-20; 1Timothy 3:1-16; Matthew 12:43-50

There are times when we can say things that are not so tactful, and although very important to say and to truly hear, there is some inevitable fall-out, some hurt that is engendered because of those words. In today's Gospel account, Jesus says what must have been difficult words for his mother to have heard. When he is told that his mother and his brothers are at the door, he turns away from them and points to his disciples and says Who is my mother, and who are my brothers? Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother. I wonder if the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, wanted to smack him upside the head for saying that in front of her and his siblings.

Perhaps Mary understood what Jesus was doing here and could accept with equanimity this idea of a new family, a new community being made among them, and that still exists today. It would have been a normal human reaction for her to be hurt by these words, from a son she had birthed and raised and protected and loved. Perhaps that love was enough to shield her from the sting of these words.

In the gay and lesbian community, many people are rejected by their biological families: they can't go home for the holidays, or know that they will be remembered on their birthdays or other important life events. So they create their own families: families of choice with whom they can share those important life moments. Don't mistake families of choice for the over-used (and wrong) term life-style choice. For being gay is not a choice, it is how we are made by God who loves all of us just as we have been created. But from those rejections, families chosen are the ones to celebrate life with. This is not the same thing as what Jesus is talking about, but it is analogous to that. By joining a church community, we become an integral part of the Body of Christ and become siblings to one another, related to one another in a deep and mysterious way. A loving and caring community, a family, with all the good as well as the pain-in-the-neck stuff that goes along with being a family. What a blessing.

Copyright 2008, John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.

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