Two-Minute Homily by Fr Bob Harwood for the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time 2023.
“Jesus revealed a unity in himself which gathers all people to God as God’s children.”
- Two-Minute Homily Transcript
Two-Minute Homily TranscriptAuthor: Archdiocese of Brisbane
I remember being quite put out when, as a young child of about seven, my mother told me she loved God more than my father. I thought this was the end. I waited out the front of the house for Dad to come home from work to break the shocking news. I was equally dismayed when he smiled and simply said, “I’m glad.”
There were some explanations which I didn’t quite get at the time and, even a year later, when I had an experience which made me realise that I loved Jesus and Jesus loved me, Jesus was still kind of on a par with my parents. I would probably have said that I preferred him to my brother but, at that time, not my parents. Of course, when we prefer Jesus it influences how we relate to everyone, even those closest to us. I can see why Dad said of mum’s preference for God, “I’m glad.”
I’m sure it was difficult for the twelve, to hear for the first time, that Jesus was to be preferred before father, mother and children. In the Jewish culture, family ties were everything. It was your connection to the People of God and, therefore to God. Your responsibility in honouring your parents was seen to be the same as honouring God. Jesus was taking the twelve to a different understanding of family connection. In making Jesus the priority of their lives, he was showing them how his family relationships extend far beyond those of one’s blood relatives. In particular, Jesus was revealing his connection with all of humanity, bringing into being the New Covenant.
Whether Jesus himself, whether a prophet, or whether a person simply in need of a cup of water, Jesus revealed a unity in himself which gathers all people to God as God’s children. What a wonderful reward. Becoming God’s children is the new life of Baptism. As Jesus experienced his Baptism in taking on the sins of the world and then rising again, he showed himself as God’s preference and as humanity’s preference. Is there any other reason for us not to make Jesus our preference?