Who are my brothers? – Tomorrow’s reading reflection

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“Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?”

The first reading of Moses and the parting of the waters is near the headwaters of our Catholic understanding of Baptism. Moses leading the chosen people out of slavery through the waters of the Red Sea are important to our understanding of Christ leading his chosen ones out of the slavery of sin through the water of Baptism. 

Immediately after a baptism comes the anointing with Sacred Chrism or Chrismation.  The priest or deacon prays, “God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has freed you from sin, given you a new birth by water and the Holy Spirit, and welcomed you into his holy people.”  

And therein lies the answer to Jesus’ question.  What he actually says in the Gospel today, as he stretches out his hand toward his disciples, is “Here are my mother and my brothers.  For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother.”  In a sacramental sense, though, how do we become his disciples, his family?  First listening to his call and then responding.  For an infant, it is the parents who hear and answer that call for the child, thus giving the child an incredibly graced privilege- the opportunity to be counted as a brother or sister of Christ.

Many people these days throw around opinions of what they believe makes someone Catholic or not. Before throwing around opinions, let’s remember what is prayed at the Chrismation: “God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…welcomed you into his holy people.”  

Let God decide who is and who is not part of his family.