Christ defines who can belong to God’s family

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

HE said it very clearly. “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.” (Lk 8,21)

If we want to belong to God’s family as we should, since we are meant to be his image and likeness and sharers of his divine life and nature, we should follow what Christ is telling us.

And why should we believe in Christ’s words? That’s because he is the very Son of God, and is God himself, who became man to offer us “the way, the truth and the life” that is proper to us.

Remember that episode of his baptism in the River Jordan? A voice was heard from heaven, clearly telling us who Christ was. “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (Mt 3,17) And in the transfiguration of Christ, again a voice was heard from heaven: “This is my beloved Son, listen to him.” (Mt 17,5)

Let’s never forget that God always intervenes in our life. He actually is the main shaper and director of our life. But he always needs our cooperation, because he always respects our freedom.

Thus, we should realize that the ideal condition for us is to unite our will with God’s will. It should identify itself with God’s will and channel it as faithfully as possible all throughout our earthly sojourn.

We have to realize more deeply that God’s will is the source of everything in the universe. The whole of creation in all its existence, unity, truth, goodness and beauty starts from God’s will and is maintained by it.

The entire range and scope of reality—be it material or spiritual, natural or supernatural, temporal or eternal—is “contained” there, not only theoretically but also ‘in vivo.’ It would be funny if we think we can cope with all the demands of our life by simply relying on our own powers. We have to follow God’s will all the time.

We, therefore, have to do everything to polish and sharpen our sense of obedience to God’s will, especially as we head toward maturity since the years tend to deaden our need for obedience. We have to be more aware of those factors that tend to dull our duty to obey.

In fact, the older we get, and the more accomplished and experienced we feel we are, the sharper should be our sense of obedience and more attentive to its finer demands.

Otherwise, we would simply spoil whatever achievements we have gained. It’s like we are gaining ground on the outside but losing ground on the inside, an echo of “what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul.” A terrible collapse would just be a matter of time.

We need to be strongly reminded about this, since we have to contend with formidable undermining forces—culture, lifestyle, media, the scandalous examples of many in politics, business, and even in the church. We have to be ready to do continuing constructive battle of peace and love in this area.

The model for all this is Christ who frequently said, “My food is to do the will of my Father.” And he did so all the way to the cross. Thus, St. Paul said that Christ was obedient until death.