Memorial of Saints Timothy and Titus, bishops
(II Timothy 1:1-8; Mark 3:31-35)
Although a few people have independently chosen to follow Christ, most Christians today are born into families that regularly went to church. These men and women may question the authenticity of their belief because they did not personally choose to be baptized. Nevertheless, when pressed, most are likely to say that they are grateful to have been raised as Christians. They reason that without developing early the habits of fearing God and going to church, they probably would have lost the way to all the satisfaction being a Christian gives.
Families are so important for faith that we sometimes think that families are of the highest value to faith. But they are not. In one passage Jesus tells a would-be disciple that he cannot go back to take leave of his family. In today’s gospel Jesus claims as his true family not his blood relations but those who pursue a spiritual relationship with God, his Father.
So then how should we regard our families? Certainly most families are owed a debt of gratitude for having provided us the physical means to grow up. Where families have fallen short of God’s ways, however – perhaps by teaching us to hate certain kinds of people or by telling us that we are deficient if we do not measure up to an exterior standard -- we must have the integrity to say, “That’s not me.”