Jesus insults two groups of people today in our Gospel reading from Matthew. First we have Jesus concluding his back and forth with his hometown Pharisees by saying they are lost to the kingdom because of their actions and disbelief. And then he diss-es his mother and brothers who are standing outside of where he is teaching.
His family knew Jesus was different, and certainly his mother had first hand knowledge and experience at just how different he was. This must have been harsh to hear from a member of their family they probably thought had come to visit them. But Jesus has a different purpose. He is talking about a the founding of a changed community, a community where people unrelated by blood are treated as family, loved as family, honored as family....no matter how different they may be from one another.
What we have today is Jesus laying the ground work for us, the Body of Christ in the world today. Jesus is saying (in part) that our intentionality in living in a church community needs to not only model the love of a daughter/son for her/his parents and siblings, but actually be that family unit. This is a radical concept that, over 2000 years later, we are still struggling to figure out. Figuring it out is, I think, part of our mission.
Copyright 2010, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.