Daily Thought For January 26, 2019
Facing Family Conflicts With God's Help
“When his relatives heard of this.…”
Everyone faces family conflicts. Some erupt quickly and die down just as fast, while others are deep-rooted and longlasting. Today’s Gospel tells us that even Jesus had trouble with his relatives. No wonder he warned us that no prophet is accepted in his hometown, and that one’s enemies are of one’s own household. In this part of Mark’s Gospel, Jesus is establishing a new family, a family of disciples. Yesterday we read about his choice of the Twelve as his apostles. They were the first members of his new family. Today we find that his relatives think he’s out of his mind. So they interfere and try to stop him from carrying out his work. Toward the end of this chapter of Mark, Jesus will identify the real members of his family: those who hear the word of God and carry it out. Those who do God’s will are the mothers, sisters, and brothers of Jesus.
Jesus’ radical demand can force us into making some painful choices. Whom do we put first in our lives, God or our family? The other side of this dilemma is that even if we face rejection from our relatives, Jesus will always accept us. The only condition is to do his will. Doing his will, following his commands, is something that he wants us to do freely, to give the gift of our love. It is not a heavy burden, but an easy yoke. Through baptism we have become disciples of Jesus, members of his family. That is our basic Christian vocation. Within it, we receive a further call to live out our discipleship in a unique way: through marriage, single life, consecrated life, or priesthood. Family conflicts often arise over these vocational choices. Sometimes we have to make choices that our relatives may disapprove of—just as Jesus did. But we do so with the secure knowledge that we are doing the will of God, who will never abandon us.
Jesus, sometimes I have conflicts with my family members. You know what this is like, since your own relatives opposed you and didn’t understand what you were doing. Despite any disagreements, help me to love my family members just as you loved yours. Help me to do my best to listen to them and understand their point of view, even while putting your will first.
Jesus, thank you for making me part of your family.
Daughters of St. Paul. (2011). Ordinary Grace Weeks 1–17: Daily Gospel Reflections. (M. G. Dateno & M. L. Trouvé, Eds.) (pp. 34–35). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.