Saint Joachim and Saint Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Readings

Commentary on Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 44:1, 10-15; Psalm 131; Matthew 13:16-17

The memorial’s very short Gospel reading is taken from Matthew.  It is in the chapter containing the parables of the Kingdom.  After having spoken of the reasons why he taught in parables, Jesus told his disciples how privileged they were:

…blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. Truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

The disciples of Jesus, of course, were especially privileged to spend their days in the company of the Son of God and to hear his Word directly from his mouth.  It was probably only later, when this Gospel came to be written, that they realised just how privileged they really were. And, of course, even though it is more than 2,000 years later, we too are so privileged to hear the same words as the guide to our life.  And we might ask, why us?  Why not other people?  But of course question should be: how are we responding to this message, and how is it being lived out in our daily lives?  And to what extent are we sharing it with those who have never heard it? Today’s Gospel, of course, is directed at Joachim and Anne who had the privilege of being the parents of Mary, the Mother of God.

The First Reading from the Book of Sirach is from a passage which is in praise of Israel’s great ancestors. Some of the words apply very appropriately to Mary’s parents:

Their descendants stand by the covenants;
their children also, for their sake.
Their offspring will continue forever,
and their glory will never be blotted out.

And there are words that apply in our context to Jesus:

Their bodies are buried in peace,
but their name lives on generation after generation.

And indeed, so many centuries later, the parents of Mary are still remembered and honoured. It is a day for all of us remember with respect our own parents and to pray for all who are parents now.

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