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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Tuesday 3rd in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Heb 10:1-10): Brothers and sisters: Since the law has only a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of them, it can never make perfect those who come to worship by the same sacrifices that they offer continually each year. Otherwise, would not the sacrifices have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, once cleansed, would no longer have had any consciousness of sins? But in those sacrifices there is only a yearly remembrance of sins, for it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats take away sins.

For this reason, when he came into the world, he said: Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings you took no delight. Then I said, As is written of me in the scroll, Behold, I come to do your will, o God. First he says, Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings, you neither desired nor delighted in. These are offered according to the law. Then he says, Behold, I come to do your will. He takes away the first to establish the second. By this «will», we have been consecrated through the offering of the Body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Responsorial Psalm: 39
R/. Here am I Lord; I come to do your will.
I have waited, waited for the Lord, and he stooped toward me. And he put a new song into my mouth, a hymn to our God.

Sacrifice or oblation you wished not, but ears open to obedience you gave me. Burnt offerings or sin-offerings you sought not; then said I, «Behold I come».

I announced your justice in the vast assembly; I did not restrain my lips, as you, o Lord, know.

Your justice I kept not hid within my heart; your faithfulness and your salvation I have spoken of; I have made no secret of your kindness and your truth in the vast assembly.
Versicle before the Gospel (Cf. Mt 11;25): Alleluia. Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth; you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mk 3,31-35): Jesus' mother and brothers came. As they stood outside, they sent someone to call him. The crowd sitting around Jesus told him, «Your mother and your brothers are outside asking for you». He replied, «Who are my mother and my brothers?». And looking around at those who sat there he said, «Here are my mother and my brothers. Whoever does the will of God is brother and sister and mother to me».

«Here are my mother and my brothers. Whoever does the will of God is brother and sister and mother to me»

Fr. Josep GASSÓ i Lécera (Ripollet, Barcelona, Spain)

Today, we find Jesus surrounded by a crowd of people in both a very concrete and compromising scene. Jesus' closer relatives had arrived from Nazareth and Caphernaum. But, seeing so many people around, they chose to wait outside and send for him instead. The crowd tells him: «Your mother and your brothers are outside asking for you. He replied, «Who are my mother and my brothers?» (Mk 3:31).

Jesus' answer is by no means a rejection towards his relatives. Jesus just moved away from them to follow the divine call and now, He also means that, intimately, He has given them up too: not because of lack of feelings or scorn of his family ties, but because He completely belongs to God the Father. Jesus Christ actually lived what He precisely expects from his disciples.

Jesus has chosen a spiritual family instead of his earthly one. He looks over the heads of those sitting next to him and says: «Here are my mother and my brothers. Whoever does the will of God is brother and sister and mother to me» (Mk 3:34-35). In other places of his Gospel, Saint Mark mentions Jesus glancing around too.

Is Jesus trying to tell us his only relatives are those who listen to him attentively? Of course not! His relatives are not those who listen to him but those who listen to and abide by God's will: it is those who are his brother, his sister, his mother...

Jesus is exhorting those sitting there —and everybody else— to enter their hearts in spiritual communion with him by abiding with the Divine Will. At the same time, however, He also praises his mother, the Virgin Mary, who is always blessed for having believed.