Greetings from Texas, and the warm, sunny (dehydrated) districts of Austin, where my sister lives. (This time last year we were here with Mom.) The past week hasn't been as rough on me as I had expected. My sisters in New Orleans had already gone through a lot of Mom's things, delivering clothing to Goodwill (and to an aunt, and a neighbor), and picking out things they especially wanted. I suppose seeing Mom's house and belongings already in distribution was easier than coming home and seeing things intact, as if she were still there. This road trip to Texas was, in part, a delivery service, hauling some of Mom's things that my sister here had her heart set on from among Mom's framed prints and jewelry (not much in that department; Mom's tastes were very simple), as well as a few selections from Mom's vast collection of scarves and purses. (Now I know why I like bags so much...)
Right now I am here with two of my sisters (and the dear old Golden Retriever who is now baying at the back door); one more sister will be arriving Thursday with her daughter. (That leaves the youngest sister, but as we visited her overnight on our way here, she is part of the total experience, too.) I'm not sure what the next few days will involve, but I do suspect that shopping might be a big part of it. (If competitive shopping were an Olympic event, my sisters would all be gold medalists.) As for me, there are a few things I needed for the upcoming trip to Italy (for that month long meeting, not for a pleasure trip!), but I was able to find most of them among the things Mom left. (Thanks, Mom!)
Without Mom, the family relationships now stand on their own. Today's Gospel was about family relationships, too. Jesus was in a house, surrounded by his disciples (probably a motley enough crew). Mary and some of his "brothers" (the Church has always understood this term in its broad sense as "relatives") came over, asking for Jesus, and somehow the message was passed along until it reached the Master. He answered with a question. "Who are my mother? Who are my brothers?" When Jesus asks a question, he is about to deliver a powerful teaching. So it was: he stretched out his hand, the open palm sweeping the room. "Here are my mother and my brothers: everyone who does the will of my Heavenly Father is brother and sister and mother to me."
Today I noticed (for the first time) that Jesus did not say that the one who does God's will is his brother OR sister OR mother, depending on the person's sex and general attitude toward the Lord. He said that such a one is all three: brother and sister and mother, as if there were no one term that could express the close relationship that is brought about; as if such a one were "everything" to Jesus--everything but his Eternal Origin. Is this also a hint of the Trinitarian communion we are invited into? To have our relationship with Jesus as our whole identity, the way the Persons of the Divine Trinity "are" their relationships within the Divine communion? And that the Father's blessed will is the Origin of it all?
I think I'll spend the remainder of this vacation time pondering that. (With my feet in my sister's backyard pool.)