Today’s readings call us to go beyond our immediate understanding of what we hear. Both readings seem to bring us outside the box of our initial understanding. The first reading from the letter of Paul to the Galatians presents those who belong to Christ in a new way, beyond the physical relationships we share. Paul tells us that in Christ we have no restrictions or lines of distinction…”no Jew or Greek, slave or freeman, male or female”.
This might help us to appreciate Jesus’ response to the woman who has praised Mary for her natural status as his mother. At first blush Jesus’ response may seem to be a put down of Mary. However, it is anything but that. The family of God, as we learned in the first reading, is more than biological. Mary is the Mother of us all in Christ. We say in prayer: “blessed are you among women”; indeed blessed are you among all humankind. Mary’s blessedness is a result of her cooperation in God’s plan. She heard God’s Word; kept it in her heart and acted upon it.
We too are blessed when we follow Mary’s example, when we are open to hear the word of God; allow it to become a part of our lives; and have the courage to live by it so that by our witness the risen Christ will be known throughout the world.
- Alice Smith has been a part of Holy Family’s women’s retreat ministry for many years. She lives with her husband on Cape Cod.