MONDAY, SEVENTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME Memorial of Sts Joachim and Anne, Parents of the BVM
Ex 32:15-24,30-34; Ps 106:19-23; Mt 13:31-35
RECOGNIZED BY THEIR FRUITS
Saints Joachim and Anne have an important role as the maternal grandparents of Jesus, yet we do not know much about them. They are not mentioned in the Gospels or any writings of the New Testament. What we know about them comes from the Gospel of James, an apocryphal writing from the second century AD, which is not accepted as part of the Scriptures by the Catholic Church. But we can also look at the life of Mary, and safely conclude that her parents were noble and virtuous. Jesus himself said: “You will recognize them by their fruits” (Mt 7:16). In this line, St John Damascene, Father and Doctor of the Church writes: “For by the chaste and holy life you led together, you have fashioned a jewel of virginity… The conduct of your life pleased God and was worthy of your daughter.”
This couple was simple and ordinary. In his apostolic exhortation, “Gaudete et exsultate” (Rejoice and be Glad), on the call to holiness in today’s world, Pope Francis speaks of the saints “next door” (n. 6-9). Often, there are saints in our own families or neighbourhood, whom we fail to notice because there is nothing spectacular about them.
In an interview on on January 31, 2021, Pope Francis announced that on the fourth Sunday of July each year, close to the feast of Sts Joachim and Anne, the church would celebrate the “World Day for Grandparents.” He said, “Grandparents are often forgotten, and we forget this wealth of preserving roots and passing on” what the elderly have received. Small is the seed that they planted and nurtured on this earth, and that seed grew to shelter the son of God. Little is the yeast of their faithful example did they add to the universe, and that yeast brought forth the true bread from heaven. What kind of seed do we plant in the hearts of our children and grandchildren? What kind of yeast? Of worldly ambitions and desires, or of faith, hope and love?
Response: O give thanks to the Lord for he is good.
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