In the Gospel today is used by many to say Mary was not a perpetual virgin because Jesus had many brothers. I will just refer them to St Jerome’s argument on the perpetual virginity of Mary. I would listen to a Doctor of the Church who is recognized as a wise teacher through millenium than any one who thinks they know what they are talking about. The First Reading says: All deeds are right in the sight of the doer, but the Lord weighs the heart. Commentators may think they are right, but in the end, it is God who determines whether they are right or not.
Instead, we talk about what Jesus said: My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it. With this, Jesus speaks of what matters to him: obedience to God’s word. This in fact raises Mary to a higher standard because Mary is truly Mother of God because of her obedience to the Father.
This affirms what the First Reading tells us: To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice. Haughty eyes and a proud heart – the lamp of the wicked – are sin. Doing good works like offering sacrifices to the Lord or giving money to the poor count only when these are done in righteousness and justice. If we offer sacrifices and give money to the poor, yet are proud, thinking we know more than the Lord, doing things the way we want, not according to what God wants, then our good deeds are nothing to the Lord.
God wants a humble and contrite heart, a heart that obeys him. All sacrifices count for nothing before the eyes of God. The Psalm tells us: happy are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord. When we continue to sin, our ways are not blameless. A blameless way is to walk in the law of the Lord – to be obedient to the Lord. Disobedience to God will not get us to heaven even if we donate everything we have. What gets us to heaven is holiness, which is the result of obedience to God.
Lord, teach me to be holy. Teach me to trust you so I may obey you.