MARK 3:31-35 

Rev. Kelly Murphy Mason

Scripture Readings:  The Gospel of Mark 3:31-35

Selection: Now his mother and his brothers arrived and, standing outside, sent in a message asking for him. A crowd was sitting round Jesus at the time the message was passed to him, ‘Look, your mother and brothers and sisters are outside asking for you.’ He replied, ‘Who are my mother and brothers?’ And looking at those sitting in a circle round him, he said, ‘Here are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does the will of God, that person is my brother and sister and mother.’ (3.31-35)

Meditation: How often have we failed to honor the precious bond we have with our brothers and sisters, even when they are gathered round us in a tight-knit circle, sharing so intimately with us in matters of the spirit, being so humbly our spiritual companions?

In Christian thought, the concept of kin is a nuanced one. We certainly have our biological family members, the relatives we readily recognize, those who can plainly make claims on our loyalty and love. But in the larger faith community, outside our homes, we are all considered brothers and sisters in Christ, gathered throughout the Church Universal. We are asked to relate to one another as children of the same God.

This is no easy task. Like offspring in a large family, we may experience anxiety about everyone getting their due, their fair measure of attention. Most of us have very many people we care for quite deeply. Most of us also have full schedules. Knowing we cannot be all things to all people gives us permission to be partial, meaning, to be fully present to the people we are with at any given moment, to belong entirely to and with them, however briefly.

How challenging that can be these days! Unless we’re able to momentarily ignore something ringing or vibrating or flashing, the latest incoming call or text message, we’ll constantly feel that unmistakable tugging at our sleeves, someone demanding immediate acknowledgment in this instant. In Mark's gospel account, Jesus shows us the value of taking time for one another. He does not apologize for seeking first the things of the spirit, for making them absolutely primary in human relations.

For Jesus, living abundantly does not mean frenetically. Living abundantly instead means living intentionally, seeking communion with the highest good, and cultivating a spiritual depth that is capable of grounding us, even in the midst of competing demands. Lent gives us an entire a season for devoting ourselves to those spiritual disciplines we most need to master. We probably have a pretty good sense which ones those are, even when we resist admitting them openly to others. Yet our fellow seekers are likely to guess when we have gotten a little lost.

Focusing Questions: Whom can we call brother and sister and mother? What helps us to discern the will of God in our lives today? Which occasions most reliably allow us to situate ourselves in right relation with our spiritual kin and our Creator God, Heavenly Parent of us all?

Prayer:  Our Father-Mother God, who had given us so many sisters and brothers to keep close and hold dear, help us to be good spiritual companions to them this Lenten season. Show us new ways to practice steadfast, sincere presence, and so mirror the abiding reality of your own Gracious Presence in our world. Let shared faith remain our surest bond. Amen!