20 Sep 2016
It feels good to finish a project; it feels good to set a goal, to work on it, and then—at some time—to be able to say “It is finished.” And this is a reason why what Jesus says can be hard. He says, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.” In the ancient Greek it’s more like: “My mother and my brothers are those who are hearing and doing the word of God.”
“Hearing” and “doing” the word of God isn’t a once-and-done sort of deal; it’s a lifelong, ongoing thing. And we won’t be able to say “It is finished” until the day we pass from this life and go into the next. We’re brothers and sisters of Christ, even today. But what makes us that is our ongoing Christian living; our lifelong obsession, even, with the word of God.
And what makes us the mother of Christ, even now, is when our “hearing and doing” the word of God makes the Spirit of Christ present to others. You know, if the Church ever ceases “hearing and doing” the word of God, then she’ll cease to be “Mother” Church. And we’re each part of Mother Church.
But if we wish to call ourselves the mother, and the brothers and sisters of Christ, the price is that we won’t ever be able to call our Christian living “finished”—at least, not on this side of heaven. The trick is to be okay with that, and even to find “delight” in it, like the psalm says.
It feels good to finish a project. But, with “hearing and doing” the word of God, our joy has to come not in finishing, but in simply doing the task Jesus gives to each of us. Each and every day it’s our task—it’s our delight—to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves. It’s a task that will never be finished, and that’s okay, because the “doing” of it is satisfying enough.