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Uniting the inside and the outside


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Fr. Luigi Maria Epicoco - published on 01/24/23

Many of us are not alone on the outside but feel lonely on the inside ...
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Today’s readings can be found here. Read Fr. Epicoco’s brief reflections on the daily Mass readings, Monday through Saturday, here. For Sunday Mass reading commentary from Fr. Rytel-Andrianik, see here.

Today’s Gospel takes place in two contexts. The first one is most likely a house in which Jesus is teaching, surrounded by many people. The second one is outside of the house, where his mother and other relatives arrive, as they were looking for him: “Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.” 

Jesus uses this circumstance as an opportunity to teach:

“And he replied, ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ And looking at those who sat around him, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.’”

Beyond the profound theological meaning hidden in Jesus’ statement, there is also an interesting existential truth at play here, regarding the difference between the “inside” and the “outside” of our lives.

We might feel something “inside” and show something different on the “outside.” In the long run, this inconsistency separating our heart from our everyday life can make us live as if split.

Jesus suggests that what is true on the outside (the love of one’s mother and one’s family) must be true also on the inside, even when we live in an “inner world” that seems to be pretty far away from what normally surrounds us “on the outside.” 

Many of us are not alone on the outside but feel lonely on the inside. The spiritual life tends to unify these two dimensions, and Jesus indicates the way: “Whoever does the will of God …”

Whoever does God’s will no longer lives merely from externalities nor in isolation, but by listening only and exclusively to what God indicates to him or her to be true and good. Being extremely practical we could say, for example, that whoever listens to the Lord is no longer fearful or worried about what others might think or say, because he or she is a free, no longer divided, person.


Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

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