Thursday, July 26, 2012

Memorial of Saints Joachim and Anne, parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary

(Jeremiah 2: 1-3.7-8.12-13; Matthew 13:10-17)

A senior citizen tries to pass on the Catholic faith to his adolescent grandson. When the youth spends a weekend with him, he invariably takes him to Sunday mass. The youth tells him that he enjoys the experience. However, not living in a home where the faith is practiced, he has yet to express desire to commit himself to the Church. Today as we honor Saints Anne and Joachim, the parents of Mary and grandparents of Jesus, we may speculate on their contribution to Jesus’ faith commitment.

It may be presumed that Anne and Joachim raised Mary as a devout Jew. Unlike the people of ancient Jerusalem, whom the prophet Jeremiah decries in the first reading, Anne and Joachim taught Mary to wait upon the Lord. They instructed her not to follow the winds of the time, but to always remember how God loves His people and will save them in distress. Mary, in turn, passed on this instruction to Jesus who perfectly fulfilled God’s will with his sacrifice in obedience until death.

Catholic grandparents will, often enough, have to take on the responsibility of teaching their grandchildren the faith. Their children have often become so estranged from belief that they understand religion as no more than a set of rites to mark the passage of time. Where this is the case, grandparents need to convey the truths to grandchildren that human nature has been distorted by sin but has been redeemed by Jesus. They will hopefully show them that heeding Jesus’ words leads to happiness and embracing his company in the sacraments gives the strength to do so.