Memorial of Saints Joachim and Anne, parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary
(Exodus 16:1-5.9-15; 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, he has yet to express interest in committing himself to the Church. Today as we honor Saints Anne and Joachim, the parents of Mary and thus the 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. They taught her how to wait upon the Lord and instructed her not to follow the winds of the time. They reminded Mary of how God loves His people and will come to their aid in distress. Mary, in turn, passed on these instructions to Jesus who perfectly fulfilled God’s will by his sacrifice on the cross.
Catholic grandparents today often have to teach their grandchildren the rudiments faith. Their own children have often become so alienated from God and the Church that they understand religion as a set of dispensable rites to mark the passage of time. Where this is the case, grandparents need to convey how human nature is distorted by sin but redeemed by Jesus’ death and resurrection. They also want to show how heeding Jesus’ words leads to happiness and how embracing him in the sacraments will give them the strength to listen and follow.