The readings today all include statements about relationality. In Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians, relationships are defined by those who have the “same spirit of faith.” The Holy Spirit unites the faith community in Corinth, the community of believers so that they become brothers and sisters in Christ.
In the Gospel, when Jesus is told that his mother and brothers are outside, he responds that “Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” It is not just belief, but action that unites people as the family of God. I once heard a prominent Dominican say, “I don’t like to use the term ‘Dominican Family,’ because families can be dysfunctional.” It is true. Most families have some sort of dysfunction if you look close enough. Like our families of origin, the Christian community in Corinth and the crowds following Jesus also included dysfunction. The brokenness that resulted from the original sin means that we are flawed and see our vulnerability and nakedness. Our eyes are open to the failings of ourselves and others. Choosing to be in a relationship with people who are your family and who you choose to be family takes work. If we take the readings from Second Corinthians and Mark to heart, then we realize our family includes a wide circle of people. As believers, it includes everyone in our Church community – whether they vote democrat, republican or for some minor party. It includes all the believers in our nation and around the world – no matter what they look like or if they speak one of the other 6,000 known languages. As people who do the will of God, this could include non-believers and people who identify with different faith traditions. What if we truly thought of all of them as a family? As today’s Sunday celebration is in the middle time between our nation’s celebration of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, it is a good time to reflect on our relationships. Who are your mother and brothers? Who does the spirit unite you to? What relationships are dysfunctional, yet still worth engaging in, because they are family? Take time today to pray for your family: whether related by blood, faith or the following of God’s will. Sister Jennifer Schaaf, O.P.