Family stories…

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John 7:1 After this Jesus went about in Galilee. He did not wish to go about in Judea because the Jews were looking for an opportunity to kill him. 2 Now the Jewish festival of Booths was near. 3 So his brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea so that your disciples also may see the works you are doing; 4 for no one who wants to be widely known acts in secret. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” 5 (For not even his brothers believed in him.) 6 Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify against it that its works are evil. 8 Go to the festival yourselves. I am not going to this festival, for my time has not yet fully come.” 9 After saying this, he remained in Galilee.

One of the endearing aspects of families is the telling of family lore – stories about a family’s history that are told over and over. Each year on my birthday (when I was a youngster) my grandmother would tell me the story of my birth – how excited she was to see her first grandchild and so on. Even now I smile when I think about it. She was a great storyteller.

The gospel-writer Luke tells the best-known version of Jesus’ birth story. The angel Gabriel appeared to a young woman named Mary who, though a virgin, would conceive a child. A son. The Son of God. And how at the time of Jesus’ birth, the shepherds in the fields came to see him. And how, some time later, three kings/wise men/astrologers visited Jesus bearing gifts fit for a king. I think you will agree it’s an unforgettable story.

So I get a bit confused when I read in v.5 that Jesus’ brothers didn’t believe in him. I wonder how this is possible. Wouldn’t Mary and Joseph have shared the story of Jesus’ birth with Jesus’ younger siblings as they grew up? How could they not? Baffles me a bit this morning.

Lord, thank you for families. For family stories. For the story of your family, the Church, brought together by faith in Jesus the Christ. Amen.

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