The Gospel according to Mark 3:31-35
“… A crowd seated around him told him, ‘Your mother and your brothers and your sisters are outside asking for you.’ But he said to them in reply, ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ And looking around at those seated in the circle he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.’ "
In the first reading taken from The Letter to the Hebrews, it says in reference to our Lord:
“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me;… Behold, I come to do your will, O God."
In the Responsorial Psalm (Psalm 40), we read:
“Sacrifice or oblation you wished not, but ears open to obedience you gave me.”
God does not desire animal sacrifices and offerings as prescribed in the Old Testament but rather the sacrifice that comes from being obedient to him and doing his will. It is the common thread in all the readings today, and in fact, a common thread throughout the entire bible, from front to back.
As we read this gospel story, it seems as if Jesus was being inconsiderate of his own mother and relatives who were outside asking for him. But, our Lord could not help but point out to those around him, that “…whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother”. (Mk 3:31) It was as if he was specifically pointing out his mother as the example of one who does God’s will perfectly - “Behold the handmaid of the Lord”.
O Lord, having ears open to obedience and a heart ready to do your will is the sacrifice you desire; a sacrifice of our own will in imitation of our Lord – “not my will, but thy will be done”. Dying to our will is a process, but if that process is driven by our love for Jesus, we will indeed be called his brother and sister and mother; living our life daily as he taught us - “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”.