God's Family - Weekday Homily Video
In Luke’s gospel, we hear Jesus expanding his family to include those who hear the Word of God and act on it. Now, whether you are from a large, small, or medium-sized family, most likely, there’s not too much confusion about who is in your family and who isn’t.
This reading from Luke is one of those that often makes people wonder if they heard it correctly. In the first verse, we hear of Jesus’ mother and brothers. You might be thinking, I thought Jesus was an only child, born of the Virgin Mary … and you would be right. So, how do we make sense of this?
In the Septuagint, which is the first translation of the Old Testament into Greek, the term adelphos is used not only for “brother” but also for extended family members, such as a cousin (1 Chronicles 23:21-22) and a nephew (Genesis 13:8). The Catholic Church likewise holds that the brothers referenced are not children born to Mary, who remained a virgin, but other close relatives of Jesus—cousins, or possibly children of Joseph from a previous marriage. (The Gospel of Luke; Pablo Gadenz, p. 161) (See Catechism number 500.)
However, the most important part of this gospel is not untangling that first verse but what it means to be part of Jesus’ family beyond his natural family. God helps us to understand this in the most unusual places and situations.
This past Sunday, my co-worker, Dave (not a brother), and I met two of my friends for coffee in Albany, NY. As we walked into the place, I almost turned around and walked out. The shop looked a mess, abandoned, and as we placed our order, the person taking it didn’t seem like they were fully awake yet; and then confusion took over, including a smoke detector beeping with no fire or smoke present, and no one seeming to notice or care. We only had a brief time, so we stayed.
God's Power to Heal
Amidst all this was a young woman sitting alone, watching the whole thing, including our reactions. As we sat down with our coffee, my friends and I started talking about the miraculous healing my friend's Dad had received 15 years ago. After a while, I could tell that the same young woman, sitting at the next table, was intrigued by our conversation, and so we gave her the Cliff Notes version. She then went on to say that she, too, had been healed by God at a time when she was devastated by the loss of her mother and young son. Hers, too, was a compelling testimony to God’s power to heal through His Word and prayer and how He was leading her forward in life. At one point, she took out her phone and quoted scripture applicable to our conversation. This young woman had clearly heard the Word of God and was acting on it as Jesus taught.
Adopted Brothers and Sisters
If you’ve heard me preach several times, you’ve probably heard me call you my brothers and sisters. It’s because we are brothers and sisters in Christ, baptized into God’s family. We are the adopted brothers and sisters of Jesus and children of God the Father.
In the messiness of that coffee shop, in the chaos and noise, God’s family was present, more than we first knew it, revealed through sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ in the most unlikely and unexpected moments. We’re called by God to love our natural and adopted family members, and as followers of Jesus, we are also blessed to meet our brothers and sisters in the faith and help one another along the way through prayer, witness, and expressions of support and care, whenever and wherever we meet.
For when we let the light of Christ shine, even in the darkest of places, we will find our brothers and sisters and be all the more blessed for knowing them.
- Father David's inspirational homily was recorded live during Mass at the Father Peyton Center this morning. Please view the video on our Facebook page. (You don't need a Facebook account to view.)
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About Father David Marcham
Reverend David S. Marcham is the Vice Postulator for the Cause of Venerable Patrick Peyton, and Director of the Father Peyton Guild, whose members pray for Father Peyton’s beatification and spread his message of the importance of Family Prayer. Prior to becoming a seminarian, Father David was a physical therapist and clinical instructor, serving hospital inpatients and outpatients throughout the greater Boston area for eleven years. In 1998 he heard the call to priesthood and was ordained in the Archdiocese of Boston in 2005. Father David grew up in Quincy, MA, and has fond memories of playing soccer, tennis and running track. You’re never without a friend when Father David is around, as he welcomes everyone into his circle with a smile on his face!