OCTOBER 9 Ord Time B. Wk 27 Sat. Lk 11. 27-28
As Jesus was speaking, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said, ‘Happy the womb that bore you and the breasts you sucked!’ But he replied, ‘Still happier those who hear the word of God and keep it!’
Today’s gospel follows on from yesterday where many witnesses to one of Christ’s miracles refused to believe, blaming “Beelzebub, the prince of devils” but what this woman’s statement shows is the people who witnessed Christ’s miracles were divided; - with some believing, and some refusing to believe!
No doubt the reason the Church provides us with this very short gospel text today is the importance of who the statement refers to; - Mary, the Mother of God; - “Happy the womb that bore you and the breasts you sucked,” drawing attention to a very important truth; - Christ would not have become man, lived among us, founded a Church, and made reparation for our sins; - had it not been for Mary!
This brief gospel reminds us of the debt the world owes to Mary and what a wonderful gift we received though her; - and how she deserves our praise and thanks.
“Mary believed the archangel’s words absolutely; - not doubting as Zechariah had done. Her question ‘How can this be?’ expresses her readiness to obey the will of God, even though at first sight it implied a contradiction; - on the one hand she was convinced God wished her to remain a virgin; - on the other, here was God also announcing she would become a mother?’
“The archangel announces God’s mysterious design, and what had seemed impossible, according to the laws of nature, is explained by a unique intervention on the part of God” (Navarre Commentary)
Jesus would have had no argument with the woman’s praise of his mother and her happiness at giving him birth, but then he goes on and highlights another important truth, namely that those who hear his teachings; - and faithfully put them into practice with be even happier than his mother at the joy of giving him birth!
And is this not true? The person who follows Christ’s teachings, and responds to his invitation to “follow me,” will become an intimate friend of God and will discover true happiness even while still on earth; - an invitation that has been extended by Christ to each and every Christian!
It is called “the happiness of holiness” and Christ has invited each and every one of us to seek it so it is a goal that is attainable; - a truth that has been demonstrated multiple times by multiple saints; - and especially my Mary herself; - the Mother of God!
Because we are sinners, we do not have the ability, alone, to attain holiness, but Christ did not leave us alone; - giving us multiple sources of divine grace to assist us to overcome sinfulness, not the least being Prayer; - Sacrament; - the Eucharist; - the gift of Mary, his own Mother; - the Church; - and the Scriptures and the Saints.
Christ wants us to find and experience this happiness, as it is the purpose for which he became man, lived among us, and died on a Cross; - and the fact he invited us to seek holiness demonstrates it is a goal that is attainable; - with divine help; - even while we are here on earth!
Gospel Acclamation Lk11:28
Blessed are they who hear the word of God
and keep it.
First reading Joel 4:12-21 ·
The day of the Lord is near; sun and moon grow dark
The Lord says this:
‘Let the nations rouse themselves, let them march
to the Valley of Jehoshaphat,
for I am going to sit in judgement there
on all the nations round.
Put the sickle in:
the harvest is ripe;
come and tread:
the winepress is full,
the vats are overflowing,
so great is their wickedness!’
Host on host
in the Valley of Decision!
For the day of the Lord is near
in the Valley of Decision!
Sun and moon grow dark,
the stars lose their brilliance.
The Lord roars from Zion,
makes his voice heard from Jerusalem;
heaven and earth tremble.
But the Lord will be a shelter for his people,
a stronghold for the sons of Israel.
‘You will learn then that I am the Lord your God,
dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain.
Jerusalem will be a holy place,
no alien will ever pass through it again.’
When that day comes,
the mountains will run with new wine
and the hills flow with milk,
and all the river beds of Judah
will run with water.
A fountain will spring from the house of the Lord
to water the wadi of Acacias.
Egypt will become a desolation,
Edom a desert waste
on account of the violence done to the sons of Judah
whose innocent blood they shed in their country.
But Judah will be inhabited for ever,
Jerusalem from age to age.
‘I will avenge their blood and let none go unpunished’,
and the Lord shall make his home in Zion.