Saints Joachim and Anne are models for all parents in raising children of faith and devotion to God
Reflections on the readings for the Memorial of Ss. Joachim and Anne (July 26, 2021): EX 32:15-24,30-34; PS 106:19-20,21-22,23; MT 13:31-35
MISSIO offers “Mission In Scripture” to nurture a missionary heart, providing reflections on the missionary themes in the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
What stories we have related to Mary’s father and mother come from literature after the first century. Yet, over the long history of the Church, devotion has grown for Saints Joachim and Anne, the names long given to them.
The names of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s parents are not mentioned in the Bible. The family of Saints Joachim and Anne lived in Nazareth, a town so inconsequential that it was never named in the Old Testament. Later, their grandson Jesus was mocked because it was His childhood home as one disciple asked if anything good could come from Nazareth. What stories we have related to Mary’s father and mother come from literature after the first century. Yet, over the long history of the Church, devotion has grown for Saints Joachim and Anne, the names long given to them. This was surely because of the deep veneration of Mary, Mother of God and our Mother as well. Joachim and Anne were loyal members of the Jewish nation. It is thought that because they had no children, they asked God to grant them an infant. Mary was the wondrous answer to their prayer – and the prayer of the world. The Messiah so long awaited by Jews would be the Son of Mary. He would also be the only begotten Son of God sent to redeem us from the consequences of sin and death. St. Cosmas, an 8th century bishop of the Eastern Church, wrote about the holy couple who raised Mary as a true child of the Almighty, always ready to do everything He asked of her: “The Lord has blessed the House of David by reason of his distant descendant, Mary, Mother of life. He had blessed the house of the just Joachim and Anne by reason of their holy daughter, the all-pure and ever-Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ and Mother of God.”
Just as we know so little about the lives of Saints Joachim and Anne – even whether or not they ever held Jesus in their arms – we know nothing about their deaths. Yet it is not only appropriate, but quite touching that they should be the Church’s patrons of grandparents as well as of childless couples.
Suggested missionary action: Let us ask Saints Joachim and Anne to look after our families and to guide us in sharing our spiritual beliefs with the next generation through our loving example. And let us also ask their help in growing ever closer to their beloved Mary and to her Son Jesus.