Living at the Center

Family is a construct of life searching for its center. The Gospels contain many stories that remind me of this. There is a special story of the mother and brothers of Jesus coming to see him. The crowds were so large that they could not get to him. His disciples told him that they were there looking for him, and he replied, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.” This seems like a harsh word, a rejection of, or a turning away from his own family. When I look at the story more closely, I begin to understand that something new is taking place. The people who are following Jesus have left family and friends behind, as the calling of the disciples indicates. The followers need something that will bind them together into a unity, a whole, and sustain them as if they were a family. Jesus is offering a new way of binding people together into this unity. He is pointing to a new way of creating a community of family and a community of faith. The word of God becomes the center, the place from which the unity and the bonding is developed, and from which the new definition of family is issued. Where the divine stands, there is the point of origin, the place of birth and rebirth, and the place of returning. Where the divine calls the human to stand is the same place. The divine and the human are gathered together as in a crowd, crowding around the center. It is to the center that all questions are addressed, and from which all answers are issued. The divine center, the word made flesh, now defines the human family as it has already defined the human being. Hearing the word of God is taking the word into oneself, and doing it is sending it forth from oneself. The human thus becomes a new center, centralizing the word, the definition, the new order of creation, the new creation, and therefore the new hope of the life to come. To arrive and to stand there is to experience for the first time the Original Unity, to experience a time before Multiplicity, and to experience the divine in the complete fulness of its grace.

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