To be close to Jesus is like a demand for every follower. Closeness indicates a personal and intimate relationship with someone. When one is close to a person, it indicates that there is already a relationship bonded by blood or by affiliation.
To be close to Jesus means being in an intimate and personal relationship with the Lord. Today, Jesus’ closest relatives; His mother and brothers (this does not mean that Virgin Mary gave birth to another child after Jesus Christ) came to see Him but Jesus used that opportunity to draw a similarity with those who hear the word and keep it and his mother and brothers. In essence, the gospel of today indicates that if Jesus is close to His family, He is also close to all who keep the Word. If He is in love with His family, He also loves those who keep the word.
The gospel also indicates the following:
1. First of all, Jesus is not trying to detest his mother nor his brothers. Jesus loves His mother so much, it was because of her, He performed his first miracle at Cana (John 2). In the same way, His mother is even the first to obey God’s message by saying yes to the angel. Jesus is not telling us to hate or detest our family, but keeping the word of God creates a bond between us and God. Obedience to His word is like belonging to a family with Jesus.
2. Jesus is using this opportunity to explain the prime importance of keeping to the word. It is not all about reading the word but hearing and keeping to it. This emphasizes that being close to God is not how much we prophesy, fast, and pray and yet our hearts refuse to change. It is not how far we read and cram bible quotations. But only by being open to the word. Keeping to them because of what it is “the word of God”.
3. By this, Jesus is trying to let us understand that no earthly bond with anyone should be our priority and none should take the first place in our lives. In whatever we do, God should take the first place. This is when we consider how what we do means to God before we delve into it. This does not mean we should neglect our family and our responsibilities, but keep God in the first place. When we keep God in the first place, we will always be motivated to do his will.
4. Obedience to someone shows love, respect and how important such a person is to you. When we do this, we show we are very close to Jesus and that we truly love Him.
5. Finally, the message of today was directed to the crowd who came to listen to Jesus. Jesus knows already that the crowd is with Him but by using a family affair, Jesus is trying to tell the crowd how to move from just being a member of the crowd to be a core member of His family. It is like moving from just being a churchgoer to a more personal and intimate relationship with the Lord. This happens only when we use the word of God as our guiding steps.
May God bless you dearest and forgive us for our sins. May He continually guide us to always keep to His word. amen
Fr Sanctus Mario