July 26, 2017
(Ss. Joachim and Anne)
Jesus spoke to them at length in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. . . . But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. Whoever has ears ought to hear.” Mt_13:1-9
“Whoever has ears ought to hear.”
Yesterday I had a “sick day.” And even though I have ears, that sinus pressure gave me such a headache that I had a hard time hearing and a hard time even thinking. So yes, if we have ears, we ought to hear. But there are lots of things in life that can cause us not to.
Some of them we have no control over, like sicknesses, or our age, or accidents to our hearing, or all the extraneous noise around us. And yet, sometimes, we’re just not listening, by our own choice.
Jesus gave the people and us a parable about listening and all the obstacles to hearing. Maybe we’ve hardened our hearts by the 10-billion telemarketing calls we get each day and we don’t even answer that phone any more.
Maybe before we fully understand what was said, there are thirty people complaining about it . . . and we never really got to know if it was something good or not; like the grumbling Israelites in the desert and like our own grumbling liberal media.
It’s funny, because it didn’t take long before those same complaining Israelites were grumbling about God’s gifts of the manna and the quail.
Sometimes in order to truly hear, we have to shut out all that other noise around us and concentrate on the Truth.
Today we celebrate the memorial of the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Tradition, as gleaned from an early Church document (that’s not in the Bible), tells us that the names of Mary’s parents were Joachim and Anne (Ann or Anna).
That writing, which is sometimes referred to as the Infancy Gospel of James, and was written around 145 AD, tells us that the parents of Mary, like Abraham and Sarah and like Elizabeth and Zechariah, also had a hard time having children.
And in their old age, Joachim and Anne also heard the Voice of God through a messenger. A messenger who foretold the birth of someone who would be a key player in the Salvation of the world, according to God’s Plan. And that ‘birth’ would be theirs, and that ‘someone’ would be named Mary!
And just like Elizabeth and Zechariah, Joachim and Anne were also ostracized by their neighbors for not having children. Yet, beyond the grumbling and beyond their embarrassment, they listened, and they heard, and they believed.
And this beautiful and miraculous and Immaculately Conceived child, named Mary, even as a consecrated virgin, would become the Mother of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
and the Mother of us all.
You see, God is not yet done with us either, brothers and sisters in Christ. For we never know when that Voice will reach OUR hearts. It may be through Christ’s Words, right here in the Scriptures. It may be through the Blessed Sacrament. It may be through a neighbor or even through someone we despise. Or it just may be in the next sunrise, or beautiful dove, or even through our own sickness and suffering.
God is not done with us.
So we keep our soil rich and we never stop listening!
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