Tuesday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Beware of the common sense!

While he was still speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers appeared outside, wishing to speak with him. (Someone told him, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, asking to speak with you.”)  But he said in reply to the one who told him, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother.”  Mt 12,46-50

Each son, when the time is ripe, must marry his own plan of life, leave the family which created him, educated and brought up, to form another family, where, in a new home, sharing joys, sorrows and moments of life. In this sense, the term “family” extends to all the people who share and participate in the same project of life. It may be a new family, a community or a religious order: these are brothers who are living the same mission. In the today’s gospel Jesus is at home with his disciples, perhaps he is explaining the mysteries of the kingdom, which he describes only by parables to those who are out. At a certain point in time, someone says to him: “Behold, your mother and your brothers are standing outside, asking to speak with you”. The text does not say why they are looking for him, however, the presence of his mother makes us thinking that it is certainly not to dissuade him from his mission, which Mary has shared and prepared since Jesus was a child. However, he perceives that voice as the risk of a reference to the “common sense”, which is always understood as an invitation to reflect, to postpone and to think again. And thus he answers: “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father, is my brother, and sister and mother”. By this sentence Jesus does not want to state that Mary has not done the will of God – it would be impossible to be supported! -; he only means that his new brothers are those who share, day after day, his plan of life. It is good, however, to ask what is that common sense, from which Jesus keeps so firmly apart. In the important decisions of the life, the “human common sense” is that mental attitude which is likely always risking to oppose to the “wisdom of God” because – as st. Paul says (1Cor 3,19) – “the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God”. The common sense, this species of sedimentation of the wisdom of the people, which is often expressed through proverbs, at certain times becomes an excess of caution: rather than move us to action, it hampers us to the “inaction”. There are moments in the life where the folly is wiser than the common sense. Pascal expresses this concept with the famous thought: “The heart has its reasons which the reason does not intend”.

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