A true family member hears and does the word (Lk 8:21-8:21)

“But Jesus said to them.

‘My mother

And my brothers

Are those

Who hear the word

Of God

And do it.’”


ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτούς Μήτηρ μου καὶ ἀδελφοί μου οὗτοί εἰσιν οἱ τὸν λόγον τοῦ Θεοῦ ἀκούοντες καὶ ποιοῦντες.


Luke indicated that Jesus replied to them (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτούς) that his mother (Μήτηρ μου) and his brothers (καὶ ἀδελφοί μου) were those who heard (οὗτοί εἰσιν οἱ…ἀκούοντες) the word of God (τὸν λόγον τοῦ Θεοῦ) and did it (καὶ ποιοῦντες).  Mark, chapter 3:33-35, and Matthew, chapter 12:48-50, have something similar, but Matthew was closer to Mark.  Luke had this simple concluding statement that sounded like a repudiation of his biological family.  Mark said that Jesus made a distinction between his biological family and his new spiritual family, as he replied to the person who told him about his relatives.  He asked him who his mother was and who were his brothers?  He looked at those who were sitting around him in a circle.  Then he said that they were his mother and his brothers.  Anyone who did the will of God, would be his brother, his sister, and his mother.  Matthew also said that Jesus asked them who his mother was and who his brothers were?  He stretched out his hand pointing to his disciples and said that they were his mother and his brothers.  Anyone who did the will of his Father in heaven would be his brother, his sister, and his mother.  This idea of a new faith family was common among many religious groups, since their fellow believers were now their new family.  No longer was a biological family important, because there was now a new spiritual family of Jesus believers.  How important is your biological family to you?

The prayer of Judith about her ancestor Simeon (Jdt 9:2-9:4)

Judith said.

‘O Lord God of my ancestor Simeon,

To whom you gave a sword

To take revenge on those strangers

Who had torn off a virgin’s clothing to defile her.

They exposed her thighs

In order to put her to shame.

They polluted her womb to disgrace her.

You have said.

‘It shall not be done.’

Yet they did it.

You gave up their rulers to be killed.

Their bed,

Which was ashamed of the deceit they had practiced,

To be stained with blood,

You struck down slaves along with princes,

Princes on their thrones.

You gave up their wives for booty.

You gave up their daughters to captivity.

All their booty was to be divided among your beloved sons,

Who burned with zeal for you.

They abhorred the pollution of their blood.

They called on you for help.’”

This prayer is based on the story in Genesis, chapter 34, about the taking of Simeon’s sister Dinah by Shechem, whom a northern Israelite city has been named after. This story of Levi and Simeon on a rampage was one of the first confrontations with the Canaanites. Simeon did not want his sister to marry Shechem, after he had defiled her, so he killed him. Somehow Judith can trace her roots back to Simeon, some 1500 years earlier. It is odd that the motivation for her bravery will be a millennium old rape, which she describes in detail. Judith spoke of Dinah’s clothing defilement, her exposed thighs, and disgraced womb, although she never mentions her by name. Judith interpreted the story to mean that God let Simeon and Levi kill the perpetrators of this rape. In fact, the story went on to say, the other brothers of Simeon, the other tribe members, ransacked the whole town and all its people taking their stuff as booty. This was a strange brutal vengeful act in Genesis.