People are sometimes a bit scandalized by Jesus’ treatment of His mother in this encounter. However, all He is doing is taking the opportunity to challenge the people who have gathered around Him at the time. Jesus has the utmost respect for His mother and would never dream of doing or saying anything that would insult her.

The rhetorical question, “Who is my mother?” is simply the launching pad for a very deep challenge of the commitment of those who desire to follow Him. It is also, in a certain respect, a compliment and tribute to His mother in terms of her own commitment to Him and to doing the will of the Father in her life!

Mary, the mother of Jesus, is presented to us as the perfect disciple. She is a model we would all do well to seek to imitate. And it is Jesus, her son, who presents her in this way. Mary’s commitment to obedience to the Father’s will has made this encounter possible. Without her ‘yes’ He, Jesus, would not be standing here and talking to them today! Then, with the further explanation, “Whoever does the will of my Father in Heaven is my brother, and sister, and mother,” Jesus tells us that we also have an opportunity to enter into this sort of intimate discipleship relationship with Him. The model is Mary, and presumably the key is obedience and commitment to the will of God. These are the two main characteristics of Mary’s life of discipleship.

Therefore, it is relatively easy to see that the words of Jesus are not insulting to Mary, but are rather a compliment and a challenge to us to grow more deeply in discipleship. Let us do the best we can to hear this challenge and respond to it in a spirit of humility and love. The purity of Mary’s response should also always be a great inspiration for us in our lives as we seek to be faithful to the Gospel message and to bring its truth to others.

How can my life better reflect the obedience and commitment that Mary had to the will of God in her life? Are there aspects of my life that need to be removed in order to improve its witness value?

Mother Mary, please pray for me to your Son that He will be gracious enough to give me the strength and courage to hear the Father’s call and to respond to it with generosity.