July 21st - The Brothers and Sisters of the Lord

Today's Gospel is one of the awkward scripture passages that we sometimes encounter. We believe that Jesus was the only Son of His mother, eternally begotten of the Father. We believe that Our Lady was a virgin who became a mother, and whose virginity remained intact even after the birth of her son.

Sometimes people try to explain the passage about Our Lord's brother by suggesting that, maybe, St Joseph had been married and that just as Our Lord was sometimes thought to be his son, so his children were thought to be the brothers and sisters of the Lord.

Biblical scholarship has helped us to realise and understand that in Middle Eastern countries, there were very close ties of kinship and even fairly remote relatives could be described as 'brothers and sisters' - loved family members.

What is very beautiful about this passage is that Our Lord looks beyond the nautral ties of family life and chooses to include everyone in His family: to be a friend of Jesus, to be a disciple of Jesus is to be as important to Him as the members of His own family.

'Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven, he/she is my brother and sister and mother'.

Fr. Douglas Lamb

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