To many cultures whose family ties are influential and strong, the Gospel today will come as a shock: Jesus seem to ignore his family. While Jesus was preaching, his mother, brothers and sisters sent word that they were outside, and Jesus said, “Who are my mother, my brothers and sisters?” He took the opportunity to point out that whoever does the will of the Father is a member of the larger family of God. In other words, what marks a member of the family is a common authority whose obedience we owe. We obey our parents, because we are members of the family. Those who do not belong to our immediate families are not bound to obey.
Furthermore, our human experience tells us that blood relationships do not necessarily translate into family ties. In fact, there are many people, such as our close friends, who are often more family to us than our real families: they know more about us and our secrets than our parents. May mga taong mas malapit sa atin kaysa sa ating mga kadugo’t kapamilya.
In the family of God, what binds us together is our obedience to the will of the Father. When we were baptized, our parents have given their word to form us into good Christians; so that when we are of age, we will freely choose to remain in God’s fold. This relationship therefore is a commitment. As children of God, we attend regular Sunday mass and dedicate a part of the day in prayer. We mold our lifestyle according to the commandments of God and the norms of the Church. We believe in a creed and we deepen our understanding of the Christian experience of God.
Let me explain. There are two types of companionship or friendships: those without commitment and those with commitments. Those without commitments are usually spontaneous and depend on circumstances and common interest. Here is a usual dialogue:
After class, Cathy blurts out, “Let’s watch a movie!”
“Now. Who wants to come?” And all those interested in movies raise their hands.
Many of our friendships end when circumstances change. Our circle of friends in high school may not be our friends now in college.
But there are friendships who stay. They are not anymore dependent on spontaneity and circumstances. Their relationship goes beyond common interest; they appreciate and in fact, love their differences. Instead of spontaneity, their relationship acquires a regular event and schedule: couples cross out a day and a time during the week for their regular dates, friends keep a once-a-month get-together, families dedicate Sundays for themselves. Thus, these relationships can withstand distance and long absences. A couple whose marriage I officiated told me that in the seven years that they were apart, they dedicated a time of day for their calls and emails.
This is why in the family of God, there are things we do regularly. It is no wonder that the Church lived for centuries.