Weekly Gospel Reflection
What a hard challenge Mary and her family faced! They were faced with relinquishing their privileged place in Jesus’ life and opening to his cosmic vision of family; an invitation to move from a conception of family as a closed, almost sacred, unit, to a wildly welcoming space, with no boundaries except to love.When I put myself in Mary’s shoes, I feel deeply for her. Any mother who has lived through the necessary separation of a child from home ties understands her suffering. In the Magnificat, attributed to her, she cried out passionately her belief that God had sent Jesus to bring justice to the world. Yet when Jesus actually begins his ministry, she is unable to understand the path he has taken. It is so risky, must seem so small and strange, not the path of a mighty conqueror. The prophecy of Simeon, that a sword would pierce her soul, has started to become reality.Our challenge is the same. Can we allow ourselves to be apprehended by and opened to Jesus’ truth, rather than struggling to shrink his otherness into our shaky, inadequate views? He is forever calling us to a larger reality where everyone and everything is connected. The Creator’s love connects me to the most alien citizen of the world, and when I try to corral the inconceivable vastness of that love into my puny literalism, I make myself the outsider.During the protest at Standing Rock, Jim Hall of Dayspring Church was wakened each morning by these words (or something like them), “Relatives, wake up! Time for prayer!” In that context, the word relatives strikes a chord of inclusion — “You belong here! We want you be with us! Come and join the welcome circle and pray with us.”Could we be as radically welcoming in our own communities? Could we reach across the profound barriers of racism and exclusion that threaten the nation?It seems that the best course for us to take is the happiest course, the one Mary must finally have taken– to open wide our minds, hearts and arms and embrace the whole shebang, with Jesus’ welcoming love.
-Carol Martin, Bread of Life Church