Mary and the Word of God

Luke 11: 27-28
Gal. 3: 22-29 / Psa 105

‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!’
(Luke 11:28)

We keep God’s Word to make us worthy
To earn God’s kingdom, and nothing less.
Let’s strive to be like Mother Mary,
Who is our model of holiness.

While Jesus was teaching the crowd, a woman there raised her voice and said to Him, ‘Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you!’ He replied, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and observe it!’ (Luke 11:27-28)

Reflection

There was never an opportunity that our Lord did not use to enlighten His followers to a higher truth. When a woman heaped praises on Him for His wondrous works, He deflected the blessing to “those who hear the Word of God and obey it.” He never deviated from His single-minded mission to proclaim God’s message of salvation.

But was He disparaging His own mother for the sake of proclaiming the Good News? This was the second time that Jesus seemed to be belittling His own mother in order to emphasize the importance of God’s Word. The first time was when His mother and some cousins came to see Him but could not enter the house where He was teaching because of the crowd. When someone told Jesus that they were outside and wished to see Him, He replied, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the Word of God and do it” (Lk.8:19-21). As some detractors of our Marian devotion like to point out, aren’t these passages proof that our Lord gave little importance to the role of Mary in our faith vis-à-vis the Word of God? On the contrary. Our Mother Mary was in fact Jesus’ model of one who lived the Word of God. She was not only blessed for bearing and nursing Jesus, but rather she was more blessed for hearing the Word of God constantly and obeying it fully. After all, she was the first to believe (Lk.1:45), and had always kept the words of her Son in her heart (Lk.2:51). St. Augustine spoke of her so well in one of his homilies when he said, “Mary heard God’s word and kept it, and so she is blessed. She kept God’s truth in her mind, a nobler thing than carrying His body in her womb. The truth and the body were both Christ: He was kept in Mary’s mind insofar as He is truth, He was carried in her womb insofar as He is man; but what is kept in the mind is of a higher order than what is carried in the womb.” (St. Augustine Sermon 25, 7-8: PL 46, 937-938.)

Our Lord’s message in today’s Gospel emphasizes that those who listen to the Word of God and gives it importance in their lives are the ones who are truly blessed. As Jesus observed about another Mary in another setting in a preceding chapter, “There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, and it will not be taken from her” (Luke 10:42). Let us therefore take heed, and constantly listen to the words of Jesus in the Bible, meditate on their significance in our lives, and strive to be perfect, according to the Father’s will in inspiring the saints who wrote it. Our Mother Mary is our model, “who kept all these things in her heart.”

Lord Jesus, we thank You for giving us Mary, Your Mother when You were at the point of death in Calvary to be our Mother of Intercession. Especially during this month of the Holy Rosary, we venerate her as our model of faith, obedience, purity and compassion. May the devotion of our Church to Your Mother grow stronger even in the midst of the world’s divisions. Dear Mother Mary, pray for us. Amen.

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