Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator
No doubt we have all heard the expression, "Blood is thicker than water." Today's passage from the Gospel of St. Matthew challenges that statement. Jesus proclaims that anyone who hears the Word of God and acts upon it is mother, brother and sister to him. This statement is the foundation for faith communities, for the Church. Those whom Jesus gathers around him are his family, his support group.
For the Middle Easterner of Jesus' day, family provided a person's past, present and future. Belonging to a family, a clan, was even more important to those people than it is for us today. When the people who had grown up with Jesus in the extended family of his foster father Joseph show up while he is preaching, he uses the occasion to illustrate what his preaching and his ministry are all about. As important as his mother and his cousins are, those who listen to him and act upon his word are just as important.
So the waters of baptism are, in this instance, thicker than the blood ties that Jesus shares with his family. However, we are joined to Jesus not only through the waters of baptism but also through his blood, shed on the cross. Thus, we really don't need to distinguish between blood and water, for we are bound to Jesus by both.