Thy will be done…
Today, let’s start with a question: When are the best commands fulfilled? I can say – I think – when we take the will of the one who commands us to do something like our own when we unite in love.
A superficial following of today’s Gospel text would only lead us to surprise. The Lord Jesus leaves his mother standing outside, and instead of going to her, he says to those present: “Who are my mother and my brothers?” He looked around at those sitting around him and said: “Behold my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of God the same is my brother and my sister, and my mother.” (Mk 3:33-35).
We know that kinship plays a vital role in society. Jesus distances himself from his blood relations. Really? No! What Jesus means by his attitude is that a different community age is dawning where bloodlines and kinship are losing their value. And in this new family, new principles apply and are immediately proclaimed: “For whoever does the will of God is my brother and my sister and my mother.” (Mk 3:35). That is: whoever receives God’s word and does it.
We know of the Virgin Mary that she not only knew this word of God but also fulfilled it, and so she continues to be the mother of Jesus. With these words, the Lord Jesus does not take away anything from the greatness of His mother; on the contrary, He gives her to us as an example, for He is taking her with His body and soul to heaven one day. These words teach us that if we do the will of God, we will all become His brothers and sisters and will be able to call the Heavenly Father indeed “Our Father.”
But this is such a serious matter that even in the prayer that Jesus taught us, He includes one of the seven petitions that we are to recall daily in prayer: Not our will, my will, is to be done in my life, but, Thy will be done, Lord. What does this mean? We need to realize that the strength of our connection with God, our closeness to God, that is, our kinship with God, depends on how we do his holy will.
And what is God’s will? It is all that God has revealed to us in the Holy Scriptures, which the Church has the authority to interpret, to explain to us. Thus we can say that the will of God is that we should fulfill the commandments of God and the Church. Therefore, if we meet and keep them, we are doing the will of God. On the other hand, let us remind ourselves that if we transgress them, whether God’s commandments or the Church’s commandments, we rebel against God and the Church. Let us realize that our salvation also depends on fulfilling these commandments. Therefore, we need to stop often and reflect on how we are doing the will of God.
This is what the Church calls us to do: to reflect more regularly, not only before the Sacrament of Reconciliation but every day, at least for a few seconds, on this doing of God’s will. We call it: the examination of conscience. The practice will lead us to come away from that brief encounter with a concrete conviction that we can enrich our lives the next day.
If we regularly examine our consciences each night, we may find that we often put our own will before the will of God. We prefer convenience to participation in Mass, prayer, and the sacraments. Preference for self over the love of God and neighbor. Let us be careful not to harden our hearts but listen to God’s voice and do God’s will. Jesus, Himself, can be our example in times of trouble. Let us remember what he said when he was sweating blood: “Not my will, but yours be done.” (Lk 22:42). We will then carry out the commands perfectly and to our advantage when we love God above all else in our lives.
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