When I was in early elementary school, there was a very popular bracelet that almost all my classmates wore. It was an inexpensive piece of leather or cloth with the inscription “WWJD” which stood for “What Would Jesus Do?” The bracelet’s popularity made it more of a fashion statement than a reminder of a Christian axiom, and the actual meaning of those words was soon lost or ignored. I think I got the bracelet before I was aware of “WWJD” stood for, but remembered it when I read today’s Gospel.
“My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.” Luke 8:21
This Gospel passage can be confusing; it sounds as though Jesus is turning away His own mother and brothers who were waiting to see Him. Of course, that was not His intention. Jesus used His circumstances to serve as an example for the crowd He had just addressed, and also for everyone of us who read His words in this modern age. Not all who hear the word of God believe it, nor do all of us act in accordance with what Jesus proclaimed.
Consider the words of the responsorial psalm and the Alleluia verse: “Guide me, Lord, in the way of Your commands,” and “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”
As Christians, we are called to be living examples of the Lord’s words. Only through our testimony will others be able to know Christ and then turn to Him and believe. That simple bracelet worn by my classmates and myself back in the 1990s had a great deal of power if we had taken the time to really consider the true meaning of the initials on it. By choosing to do what Jesus would do, we can bring the presence of Jesus into this world through our actions.
The world desperately needs the example of Jesus Christ in these trying and uncertain times. “What Would Jesus Do” can be words to live by and to cling to as we go forward through what appears to be a difficult period for all human beings alive today.