- The Abbey of the Genesee - https://www.geneseeabbey.org -

July 22, 2019

Fr. Gerard D’Souza, OCSO

17th Tuesday in Ordinary Time

Who is my mother and who are my brothers?

With this question, Jesus is pointing to the presence of the kingdom of God among us now and with this kingdom there comes a new way of looking at people.

We have been brought up with the ‘us’ versus ‘them’ mentality. Our loyalties are based on ties of blood first of all. A good place to start but not a good place to end. Ties of blood are based on biology but biology is destined for death. We cannot hitch our wagon to a horse that is going to die soon.

We, each of us has been given a new being at baptism – an ecclesial being because we are brought physically into the Body of Christ. We cannot therefore be hung up on biological being. This is why Jesus’ injunction to hate father and mother may sound harsh. What is means is that we are free from the chains of biology. We can dream anew and imagine anew.

What was used of family is transferred to the Church. By biology we had a father on earth, by ecclesial being we have a father in heaven. Similarly we have brothers and sisters in this new communion.

Sin has brought division and brokenness. This is why the loyalties of blood and clan and race become false idols we are compelled to worship. But when the new world comes about through Christ – we can still have these loyalties but they are not gods anymore. We can then expand with confidence and without fear into the wider communion of the Church and give our lives for others who are strangers and who are not linked by the ties of blood. This is at the basis of our own monastic community which is not based on any of the natural affinities of blood, clan, race, caste etc but rooted in Christ alone. This community can function only with the eyes of faith. Otherwise it breaks down into private enclaves that at best, tolerate each other.

De Lubac  – Just as the rupturing of our relationship with God in original sin is inseparably connected with the rupturing of relationships among human beings, so the way back to God means the restoration of our relations with one another. They are connected intrinsically. For those who wish to accomplish the return to God and eternal life, forming and abiding in communion is the indispensable way to the goal.