and we are the members.
As a final gift, right before He died, He gave His mother to His whole family, through giving her to the beloved disciple John. This was a gift for all of us, an exchange, an expansion of His family. In this exchange, the tradition has long taught, He also entrusted all of us to her maternal care.
Something of the interior meaning of this exchange, this gift, is what is truly revealed in the passage from the Gospel of St. Matthew with which we began this discussion. Jesus was not minimizing His relationship with His mother through these words given in response to the crowd, He was expanding it. He hungers, through Divine love, to include all of us in the "family circle" of God. In doing so, He invites us on the journey home to the Father's house.
In this exchange, Jesus opens up the interior importance and meaning of the motherhood of Mary - and through that relationship - the interior meaning of all family relationships. He gives to those with ears to hear and eyes to see, a key insight - familial relationships touch upon, model and make present an eternal mystery into which each of us who are baptized into Him, are invited! The Church is a family. Understanding this insight, and living it, is a key to the spiritual life. The Christian vocation is fundamentally about relationship and communion.
All who are incorporated into the Body of Jesus Christ through Baptism begin even now to experience the intimacy, (expressed in family relationships), that is the essence of the very life of the Trinity. Through His life, death and Resurrection (the "Paschal mystery"), He opens a way for every man, woman and child, who chooses to do the will of His Father, to enter into the very family circle of God through truly living our lives in Him.
His Father becomes our Father as we enter, through Him, into the inner life of the Trinity. He underscores this truth right before He ascended when He instructed Mary of Magdala to tell the disciples "I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.' (John 20:17). Understanding this "mystery" requires prayer and revelation. Our Advent season presents us with such a time as a gift. Let us use it fully and grow in our Christian faith as members of the very Family of God.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Mary, Mother of God, John the Baptizer, Church, Holy Trinity, marriage, family, conversion, communion, Incarnation, Advent, Deacon Keith Fournier
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