Can you imagine tax dollars being used to build a church? That idea seems far fetched to Americans, but that’s part of what we see in today’s first reading from the Book of Ezra. Today we read about a construction project, and an agreement. King Darius decrees that the Jewish people be allowed to complete the building of their house of God. Not only that, but he decrees that the Jews be repaid for their expenses – from tax dollars. When finished, “The children of Israel…celebrated the dedication of this house of God with joy.”
In the Gospel reading from Luke 8, Jesus’ mother and brothers come to see him, but can’t get in the house because of the crowd. So the people tell Him that they are outside to see Him. Jesus replies, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.” Jesus always liked to get to the heart of the matter. That is why He often spoke in family terms.
The family is the oldest unit in humanity, the bedrock of society. Now, some of us (perhaps many, even all) have dysfunction in our family. But the way it is supposed to work is like this: when everyone else has abandoned you, you can count on your family. This may not always pan out with our human family. But with our spiritual family, Our Father, God, our brother, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and our Mother, Mary, it always works out that way. As Jesus says, when we hear the word and act on it, we’re family!
Father, thank you for calling us your children. Help us today and every day to hear the words of Jesus and act on them. Amen.
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