Saturday 10th October 2015, 27th week of Ordinary Time
Rejoice you just in the Lord.
More blessed than giving birth to Jesus is hearing God’s word and keeping it.
While Jesus was speaking, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you!” But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!”
After Jesus has effectively silenced his opponents and their ridiculous accusations, a woman cries out from the surrounding crowd: “Happy the womb that bore you and the breasts you sucked!” It was a beautiful tribute first to Jesus himself but also to his mother (someone, presumably, totally unknown to the speaker). In more contemporary terms we might rephrase it as, “May God bless the woman that produced such a fine son as you!” This woman is clearly one of the crowd that has been amazed at the work that Jesus is doing in contrast to the cynical unbelievers who want to destroy Jesus.
But Jesus turns the woman’s words around. “Still happier are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” Greatness in God’s eyes lies not in gifts and privileges that have been granted but in the response that is given to God.
And even Jesus himself was not great just because of his powers over demons or his ability to silence his accusers but because he, too, heard the word of his Father and kept it. There was a total identity between what his Father wanted and what Jesus was saying and doing.
For us, too, it must be exactly the same. That is the only greatness that matters, the only greatness that we need be concerned about.
Dear Lord, help us to count among those whom you have called “blessed” today and all those whom you have called “blessed” on different occasions like on the Sermon of the Mount.