‘He replied, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking round at those sitting in a circle about him, he said. “Here are my mother and my brothers. Anyone who does the will of God, that person is my brother and sister.”’
For those sitting around Jesus, it must have been a revelation. They realised, in a fraction of a moment, that they had belonged to Jesus. Their brotherhood and sisterhood are ‘reactivated’ in the moment they do the will who sent Him.
The passage is far more significant than a symbolic invitation. The astounding mystery is that there is the most intimate connection in us with God - before we realise it. If this ‘spark’ of belonging is there, should not this influence our mission to our contemporaries? On the one hand, we can see them as ‘brothers and sister’, who had been marked by God’s love, in the very same way we had been before we responded to our call. This is our prompting to love. This prompting (in search of meeting our sisters and brothers) should not leave any space for ‘the secular’. We should not allow any label, threat, scapegoating, prejudice to stand between us and those who ‘are unemployed by God’ (T.S. Eliot)
On the other hand, we are invited to think about our ‘wording’, how to address this latent brotherhood in them. The gospel shows that the moment of naming this already existing relationship is the key. Jesus brings to consciousness this link, and his naming who we are in relation to God, is a magical moment. Suddenly a whole landscape of discipleship and a shared Home is lit for us.
It is not impossible. The conversion of the world, the conversion of our brothers and sisters can take place in a split second. Only our loving encouragement must arrive in time.
These are verbal Icons, expressions of how the world is seen from Saint Augustine's..