Relationship with Christ
July 20, 2021 (readings)
- Tuesday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
- Jennifer Ristine
While he was still speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers appeared outside, wishing to speak with him. Someone told him, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, asking to speak with you.” But he said in reply to the one who told him, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother.”
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, center my heart on you, so that I may be an integral participant of your family in the faith.
Who Is Jesus for Me?: In prayer, you are invited to go before the Lord and ask him this question, “Who are you for me, Lord?” Is he a convenient figure who inspires you to perform an act of social justice or charity every once in a while? Is he a model for living the Christian life, but one in which you pick and choose which virtues are adaptable to your present lifestyle? Or is he truly your Savior whom you seek every day, whom you consult and desire to please? Is he the one who nudges you with his consolation, motivating you to give up a little of your personal self-determination in order to live a spirit of obedience to the Holy Spirit? Is he your light in the darkness, a steady rock amidst the storm, a place to rest in the midst of weariness? Where and how do you encounter him? Give thanks for the ways he has revealed himself to you and ask for greater faith to know, love, and follow him.
Who Am I for Jesus?: Perhaps we rarely think of Jesus looking upon us with the expectation of being someone special for him. But we are personally looked upon and loved. As we take a cursory glance upon the lives of the saints throughout history, we discover that each one is a treasure for the Lord. Each one is a brother, or sister, or mother. We have Margaret Mary Alocoque consoling his suffering heart, Catherine of Siena tirelessly persevering to change the hearts of leaders, Mary Magdalene witnessing the good news, St. Thomas Aquinas sharing his gift of wisdom and insight into the mysteries of the faith. Each one of us is unique and special to the Lord. And we are all called to participate in God’s family, preserving and sharing the treasures we have received, being a sister or a brother or even a spiritual spouse for Jesus.
The Family of God: Jesus made clear that those whom he calls brother, sister, or mother are doing the will of the heavenly Father. The requirement to belong in his family is obedience. And obedience necessitates listening. Listening to the true voice of God requires prayer. Prayer keeps us actively participating in God’s family. Prayer takes many forms, the highest of which is the Holy Mass. The Father offers us an entryway into his Son’s Paschal Mystery through the holy Mass. In the midst of this communal and liturgical prayer, can we hear him tell us how much he loves us? Do we listen to his heartbeats as we hear pieces of salvation history read from the ambo? Do we feel his heart beating in his humble “coming-into-our-presence” as the host is transubstantiated into his Real Presence? As the Mass comes to a close, we are reminded of who we are for the Lord Jesus. We are sent as disciples into the world to bring his presence to others. We are his family upon whom he relies to be channels of his redemptive grace among those desiring to discover a new family in which to belong.
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, I thank you for the gift of being part of your family. Help me to be a good brother, sister, and mother to all those around me. Send me your Holy Spirit to teach me to listen to your word and to guide and encourage me in the gathering together of more people for your family.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will be attentive to how I can be a brother or sister in the Lord to those I meet.
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