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"Why does Scripture speak of Christ's brothers & sisters?"

 

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As some ancient languages have no word for cousin (and other relatives), the terms "brothers" and "sisters" may have been used in Scripture to refer to relatives other than blood brothers and blood sisters. This is easily proven. For example, Scripture refers to James and Joseph (or Joses) as the "brothers of the Lord" but also tells us that they are the sons of Mary, wife of Clopas (who is the 'sister' of Jesus' mother Mary). As St. Isidore of Seville, Doctor of the Church, said...

"Those who are here called the Lord's brethren, are the sons of a Mary, His Mother's sister; she is the mother of this James and Joseph, that is to say, Mary the wife of Cleophas and this is the Mary who is called the mother of James the Less."

As St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church", said...

"Mary who is called 'the mother of James and Joseph' is not to be taken for the Mother of our Lord, who is not wont to be named in the Gospels save under this designation of her dignity - 'the Mother of Jesus.' This Mary is to be taken for the wife of Alphaeus, whose son was James the less, known as the 'brother of the Lord' (Galatians 1:19)."

Remember that Jesus' Mother Mary is an ever-virgin, so it would be impossible for her to have other children. That is why when Jesus was hanging on the Cross, He entrusted His mother to St. John and not one of His "brothers" or "sisters" (see Jn. 19:27). 

As stated in the Baltimore Catechism...

"Our Lord had no brothers or sisters. When the Gospels speak of His brethren they mean only His near relations. His Blessed Mother Mary was always a Virgin as well before and at His birth as after it."


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