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Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time

Gal. 3:22-29 & Luke 11:27-28

The feasts, kosher rules and everyday regulations of Jewish life were included in the 'law' which Saint Paul describes as a kind of 'saviour' that kept people close to God.

But as he says in today's First Reading we come close to God and share His life, not though the regulations of Jewish life but through faith in Jesus Christ. The very righteousness of Christ can be ours through our faith and Baptism into Him. Through the sacraments we become part of Christ and of His Mystical Body.

Furthermore, St Paul continues, now we all have access to the spiritual dignity and eternal life of a child of God through Christ.

There are no longer Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female distinctions in our spiritual potential and inheritance. These distinctions no longer count because the path to life on Earth is now open to everyone who believes in Christ.

One day, after Jesus had been driving out demons, debating with Pharisees and teaching increasingly large crowds, a woman called out, "Blessed is the womb that bore You!" You can almost hear this woman going on to say she must have been a lucky mother to have such a son! But in Jesus' scheme of things the truly blessed are those who "hear the word of God and keep it".

Far from turning attention away from His mother, Jesus was showing that she was not just some lucky girl who received special graces, but she was truly blessed because His mother constantly chose to live her life in obedience to God. Her cousin Elizabeth could see Mary’s faith and obedience, and this was why she called her blessed. Elizabeth said, "Blessed is she who believed that what was told her by the Lord would be fulfilled."

To Gabriel, Mary said, "Let it be done to me according to Your word." Consider the consequences of Mary's 'yes' to the angel's extraordinary message. Imagine you are a young girl engaged to be married and now you are willing to accept God's will to become miraculously pregnant before you and your husband have come together. This might be a little difficult to explain to your fiancé, not to mention the town gossips! Would you not want to suggest that God delay the miracle until after the marriage? Did she really have to risk being stoned to death for the sin of adultery?

Mary's act of faith and obedience is extraordinary. She deserves to be called the 'New Eve' for she trusted, believed and obeyed God’s will. This is the woman Jesus knew as His mother. He saw her blessedness in her wisdom, strength, faith and obedience. We too can be blessed if we seek to hear the Lord and put His words into practice.

Heavenly Father, let us know even now the life You desire to pour out from on high. Let us live the life of the Spirit, filling us with the virtues of Christ: humility, simplicity, meekness and obedience. Give us a taste of what will be fully ours at the end of time.

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