Today we celebrate the lives of the devout parents who brought the Blessed Virgin into the world
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
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In the Gospel for today we hear that “(Jesus) spoke to them only in parables, to fulfill what had been said through the prophet: I will open my mouth in parables, I will announce what has lain hidden from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 13:34-35).
Today we venerate the father and mother of Mary, the Mother of God. Scripture tells us virtually nothing about them – not even their names. Nonetheless, they have been revered in writings and art since the early centuries of the Church. It is often thought that they were a childless couple in the Galilean town of Nazareth and advanced in years when they beseeched Almighty God to bless them with a child. God answered His faithful children from the house of David with a daughter they named Mary. They could not know that she had already been chosen by God to bear His Son who would save the world from sin and death. And certainly they could never have imagined that their baby girl had been conceived in Anne’s womb without original sin. This divine mystery was a consequence of Mary’s unique and intimate connection to our Redeemer. While we lack information about Mary’s upbringing, it is thought that her parents dutifully presented her at the Temple of Jerusalem in thanksgiving for her birth. It is clear that Joachim and Anne raised their precious daughter to be a loyal and loving child of our Eternal Father. In Mary’s generous response to the Angel Gabriel at the Annunciation of Christ’s birth, we see her complete dedication to the Divine will that she surely experienced in her home life.
In the Gospel for today we hear that “(Jesus) spoke to them only in parables, to fulfill what had been said through the prophet: I will open my mouth in parables, I will announce what has lain hidden from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 13:34-35). Key to God’s eternal plans for the salvation of His people was the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the beloved child of a humble Jewish family that quietly served Him all their days. Pope Francis has said, “Saints Joachim and Anne were part of a long chain of people who had transmitted their faith and love for God, expressed in the warmth and love of family life, down to Mary, who received the Son of God in her womb and who gave Him to the world, to us. How precious is the family as the privileged place for transmitting the faith!”