The recent deaths in Minneapolis, Baton Rouge, and Dallas, the subsequent conversations on racial tensions in our country, and the political climate of the upcoming election all invite us to ask: “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?”

We are a united country, but our conflicts run deep. Our many identities divide us: race, age, gender, sexual orientation, faith, etc. Society and the environment in which we have grown up inform our perceptions and prejudices. We reject others. We define ourselves by who we are not. We ostracize.

Christ reframes all things, turning them upside down. A king, born in a stable. A savior, hung on the cross. God, eating with sinners. Jesus’ message in today’s gospel is not that he disowns his family, rather that he breaks it open to include all people of good will.

We must begin to consider that the problems of this country are our problems. Unless we strive to create a bond of kinship with those who don’t share our same identities, we will continue perpetuating these systems of violence.

As you move through this day, be cognizant of those people who fall outside of your “family.” Pray for the grace to continue breaking it open toward acceptance and kinship, so that we can continue building God’s kingdom where all belong.

—Aaron Pierre, S.J., a Jesuit scholastic of the Wisconsin province, is currently studying philosophy at Loyola University Chicago.