Saturday, October 14, 2006


Today's Gospel gives us dueling Beatitudes, so to speak. A woman in the crowd, inspired and enthusiastic, cries out to Jesus, "Blessed is the womb that bore you." But Jesus answers with a different beatitude: "Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it."
Obviously, Mary herself was one of those blessed ones. In fact, Augustine said that Mary conceived Christ through faith, in her "hearing," so to speak, before she conceived him in the flesh in her womb.
But, as the TV commercials say, "Wait! There's more!" Because Jesus' comment perfectly parallels what we heard in the Gospel a week or so ago. His mother and other family members had come to him while he was surrounded by  listeners. They sent the message that they were there for him, and Jesus said, "Who are my mother and my brothers? Whoever does the will of God is brother and sister and mother to me." That's where we are, God willing (!): we are blessed with the very blessing Mary enjoyed, and for the same deep reason.

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