9th October 2021
In today’s gospel, a woman from the crowd shouts and praises Jesus’ mother because Jesus is her Son. She is blest of what the son is and what he is doing. In so doing she reduces the motherhood role of Mary into a mere physical mother of Jesus.
The exclamation of the woman was directly and chiefly intended to proclaim the blessedness of our Lord's mother, forgetting the source of her blessedness, Jesus, the Word of God. Of course this acclamation is not to be condemned. Jesus Himself does not deny it, and we ought not to question its truth.
This is also our reality; the happiness of parents is very much involved in the conduct and history of our children. The relation is most intimate and most tender. Their offspring are so closely entwined round their heart, as to occasion them, either most acute anguish, or most exquisite pleasure. Therefore, if it is thus a general truth that parents are happy in the happiness of their children, how great must have been the happiness of such a woman as the Virgin Mary, in having such a son as Jesus Christ!
Vast indeed were the blessing and honour which were hers!
It is true; Mary was blessed in bringing forth such a son at first, so she was blessed in His future character and exploits. She was blessed in His dutiful conduct as a son: for "He went down to Nazareth, and was subject" unto His parents”. She was blessed in the progressive improvement of His human nature, for, "Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man”. She was blessed in the whole tenor of His holy life, as He was perfectly free from all taint of sin, and exhibited a pattern of every grace. She was blessed in hearing many of His delightful discourses, as she frequently attended His ministrations. She was blessed in seeing many of the wonderful works which He performed. She was blessed in His glorious resurrection and ascension, when He rose a conqueror over death and hell, and when He was taken up into heaven, and sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high, to wait till all His enemies be made His footstool.
In all this, not denying of the blessedness of His Mother, Jesus wants us to know and to understand the vastness of God’s grace that makes each and every one of us holy, happy and blessed.
This acclamation of the woman is correct but full of emotion and passion, without a deep understanding and conviction of what makes one truly blessed. The Virgin Mother was blessed among women. Therefore he corrects the woman in the Gospel by saying, “Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe It”.
First of all the source of any blessing is nothing of human making. All is God’s grace and God’s own initiative. God’s grace is so great; it is not limited only in physical or ethnical relationship with Him, as the woman praised. It is much more about the spiritual relationship, the spiritual sonship. Therefore all of us are blessed and privileged by God.
All of us are blessed because we have been given the Word of God, who is Jesus Himself. We listen and receive the Word of God. When we receive and obey the Word that we have in our heart, we bear and carry Jesus within us. He grows and produces fruit within our heart. And this is what Jesus meant when he corrects the woman in the Gospel.
We have to be effective in our hearing and bearing the Word. We have to observe it and its teaching. In hearing God communicates to us.And in obeying, we engage a Person, Jesus Himself, and let Him communicate to us whatever He desires and wills for us. Let us open our heart to the Word of God and leave any other things that hinder us from becoming blessed as Mary, the sister of Martha who chose the better part that will never be taken away from her. That is our blessedness.