THE PENITENT who anointed Christ in the house of Simon the Pharisee may have been one of the women who, Saint Luke tells us, journeyed about with Jesus and the Apostles, taking care of such tasks as marketing and the preparation of meals. The evangelist says that they were women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities, and that their band included Mary Magdalene, Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward, Susanna, and many others.
On one occasion when Jesus entered a house, a great crowd gathered, so that He and His followers could find no room to take their meals. While He was speaking to the crowds some of His relatives arrived before the house. Believing that His evangelizing had reached the point of madness, they had come to constrain Him, and they had brought along with them Mary, thinking, perhaps, that she would dissuade her Son from the dangerous work He had chosen. They could not enter because of the crowd, however, and they stood outside calling for attention.
At last someone within heard their cries and going up to Christ, said to Him: “Behold, Thy mother and Thy brethren are standing outside, seeking Thee.” And He replied:
“Who is My mother and who are My brethren?”
Then He pointed to those in the midst of whom He had been preaching, and He said:
“Behold My mother and My brethren! For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.”
Mere formal relationship is no significant token of a bond with Him. Those who are closely united with Him are the practical exponents of His teachings, not those who are merely nominal Christians and who make no real effort to serve Him.
Meditation: Christ gave Himself completely to His work. Some of His friends misunderstood and felt He was going too far. They wanted Him to be more moderate, more “prudent.” But He insisted that His work of preaching must be His great concern. If I try to carry out in my life the full teaching of the Gospel (as a nun, for example, or as an apostolic layman), friends will misunderstand and will recommend moderation. They will tell me I can be a good Catholic without going to extremes. Will I make a complete dedication of my life to God?
Information from The Life of Christ “Our Lord’s Life with Lesson in His Own Words for Our Life Today” The Catholic Press, Inc. 1959. 71-72. © 1954 edited by Reverend John P. O’Connell, MASTD and Jex Martin, following mainly A Chronological Harmony of the Gospels by Stephen J Hartdegen OFM NIHIL OBSTAT John A McMahon; IMPRIMATUR Samuel Cardinal Stritch, Archbishop of Chicago August 1, 1953. Print. Drawing by Albert H Winkler.