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Matthew 12:46-50: Human Brother/Sisterhood
While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.” He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:46-50)

Jesus said, "Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother." (Matthew 12:50) Through these words Jesus describes an unheard-of closeness between people who do not share the same blood. It is true that through prayer or service of the most vulnerable, we can feel very close to people we hardly know.

This communion is felt particularly strongly in prayer. When we pray together, we come closer to each other. This is especially true among Christians. In Taizé, we have often seen how praying together has made people appreciate one another who were struggling to find points of understanding between their churches.

This communion is also true when it comes to those who do not share our reference to Christ. Many of us have experienced this: some people, even without a conscious bond with the Father, seem to do his will, so much they have put their energy at the service of love of neighbor.

Such people make the same gestures of love as Christians. Sometimes even, dare we say it, they make them better than we do. Rather than competing with one another or denying the bond they have with the will of God, we can carry these people in prayer. Without casting any shadow over their freedom of conscience, we can by our praise be the thread, no matter how tenuous, that they maintain with God.

If we become accustomed to feeling how much Christ rejoices in the beautiful things we do together, we discover how strongly the Holy Spirit speaks to the heart of every human person. In the early centuries of the Church, Christian thinkers spoke of the “seeds of the Word” that come to fertilize cultures and religions which are other than Christian.

Because of globalization, ideas, information, capital and goods have never circulated around the globe with such rapidity. This frenzy may alarm us. Especially because of fear of migrations, everything circulates except the majority of the inhabitants of the earth, many of whom cannot cross the borders.

Because of this, we meet without meeting. Sometimes, with a screen separating us, often with bad news separating us, and even more often because we buy from one other without really speaking to one another.

To try to see how the breath of God sows seeds in the lives of people could be a magnificent opportunity to get to know each other in truth, to appreciate each other, in spite of the defects that we find in one another’s cultures and behavior. And once we know each other better, we can draw the best from each other, let ourselves be inspired by one other and thus correct in our own behavior what has to be corrected.

As Brother Alois indicates in the proposals for the year 2017: “Can we find ways of remaining present in places of division, and of building bridges? Let us pray for those whom we do not understand and who do not understand us.” The seeds of the Word help us to understand each other. The Holy Spirit speaks a language of the heart that knows how to make itself heard despite all our linguistic and cultural obstacles.

Let us therefore listen to what God murmurs in the beauty of each culture. In this murmur his will is found, a will which we cannot accomplish alone. God entrusts us with one another as a gift and a responsibility. Let us then recognize ourselves as indispensable to one another on this road toward God.

- Are there people I feel closer to than members of my own family? Why? Is it possible to see every human being as a brother or a sister? What would that mean concretely?

- How can we make our Christian communities more like a family?

- What bridges can we build with people who do not share our faith? What can we learn from them?


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