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WHY MARY WAS TRULY BLESSED?

Father Francis's picture
Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time

Joel 4:12-21 & Luke 11:27-28

In “the day of the Lord” God will vindicate His people, judging those who oppose Him and providing refuge to those who call on His name. “So you shall know that I am the Lord your God, dwell in Zion, my holy mountain. And Jerusalem shall be holy, and strangers shall never again pass through it.” Furthermore, the blessings lost through sin will be restored.

In the dry land of Judah, wine, milk and water were signs of joy, nourishment and life. Joel used these to highlight the abundance of God’s blessing when that day comes. The locust plague destroyed the vines, snatching the new wine from their lips; yet in that day, new wine will drip from the mountains. Once the cattle groaned because they had no pasture; but in that day, milk will flow from the hills. The locust plague had “dried up” the ground, the trees, the grain, and all the streams; but in the day, “all the stream beds of Judah shall flow with water; and a fountain shall come forth from the house of the Lord and water the Wadi Shittim.”

The day of the Lord had its beginnings in the first coming of Christ to Bethlehem. It will be fulfilled ultimately when Jesus comes at the end of time to establish the new Heaven and new Earth. It begins to be fulfilled now as we “call on the name of the Lord” and turn to the Lord as our refuge.

Through the Holy Spirit we can have a foretaste of the new wine of the future kingdom. We can experience the water flowing from the house of the Lord on high, that holy Jerusalem where the Lord dwells. As we are transformed through the Holy Spirit, we can be God’s instruments in the transformation of society, as we bring His life to all around us.

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 lay down her life in obedience to God. Both the Angel Gabriel and her cousin Elizabeth could see Mary’s faith and obedience, and this was why they too 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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