Word and Family

A couple of weeks ago I offered a few thoughts on the word of God. I paid attention to a couple of statements in Luke’s Gospel where Jesus speaks about hearing the word and obeying/keeping it (see Luke 8:19-21; 11:27-28). As I reflect on those passages I can’t help but find it interesting that Jesus’ biological family was far away and not within earshot of his teaching in the first incident. He identifies those who hear God’s word and keep it as his true family.

It reminds me of the incident when Jesus was twelve and traveled to Jerusalem for the Passover. When the feast was over Jesus remained in Jerusalem unbeknownst to his Mary and Joseph and he sat in the temple listening to teaching and asking questions. People were amazed with his understanding and his answers and when his parents finally found him and his mother asked why he treated them so, Jesus responded by saying, “Why were you looking for me? Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:41-52). His obligation was to his heavenly Father especially in laboring in the word, which for him was natural; something he expected his parents to know.

In second incident where the woman offers praise to Jesus’ mother (“Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!”), Jesus once again identifies the blessed not as his biological relatives, but as those who hear God’s word and keep it. I’m tempted to say that word trumps family but I think it better to say (as I have throughout the post) that word identifies family. One might say that it unites family. And I think Luke’s narrative bears this out (at least in these particular instances). I’ll have to read through the entire Gospel and see what else it reveals.



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