Homily for January 24th, 2017: Mark 31-35.
“The mother of Jesus and his brothers arrived at the house,” we heard at the start of today’s gospel. His brothers? The Church has always believed and taught that Jesus had no siblings. His mother Mary had only one child; which is why she is called “ever virgin.” Why, some people ask? Others ask, what difference does it make? It makes all the difference. Here’s why.
Having given herself completely to God, when she told the angel Gabriel, “I am the servant of the Lord – be it done to me as you say,” it was impossible that Mary could give herself completely to a human husband. That is why Mary is “ever virgin.” The Greek word used by Mark and translated “brothers” was used in biblical times to designate not only siblings, but other relatives as well.
More significant are the words Jesus directs to those sitting with him in the house: “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” Jesus widens his family circle to include all those who try to do his will – ourselves included.
That too, friends, is part of the gospel. That is the good news.