Saturday, October 12, 2013


And on that day, the mountains shall drip new wine, 
and the hills shall flow with milk; And the channels of Judah shall flow with water: A fountain shall issue from the house of the LORD, to water the Valley of Shittim.  Joel 4:18

While Jesus was speaking, a woman from the crowd called out and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts at which you nursed.”  He replied, “Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”  Luke 11:27-28

The descriptions that the prophet Joel uses to describe Judah are in stark contrast to the desolation that faces those who attack the Lord’s chosen people.  May we always find ourselves actively seeking what it means to be on the Lord’s side.  The Lord might come to those who wait, but if we follow Mary’s model, the Lord will definitely come to those who act upon His Word.

Through ages of translators, Jesus does not always appear to have a particularly elegant tone when he was speaking with and about his mother.  However, being I do not know the Aramaic, Greek or Latin texts, I blame the translators. 

If you look at this exchange in today’s Good News, it appears that the person was trying to praise Jesus’ mother for bringing Him into the world.  It almost sounds like Jesus dismisses this sacrifice.  However, rather than hearing this as a counter-point to the speaker, maybe what Jesus means is blessed is Mary because she heard the word of God and observed it…an act that models even greater behavior for us to imitate. 

Observe can be a passive activity when we notice or perceive something.  However, it also can be an active undertaking when we fully comply with an ethical or moral responsibility.  It comes from the Latin root word “servare” that means to keep.  We serve when we observe (keep) the word of God in our hearts, in our minds and in the actions of our lives.

The prophet Joel also uses an interesting phrase will several levels of meaning:  “But Judah shall abide forever.”  On one level, you can abide by dwelling someplace.  Abide also can mean obey and observe.  Abide also can mean behavior that you will not tolerate.  The waste and desolation facing Egypt will happen because the Lord will not abide that behavior.  Because Judah will abide (observe) the word of God, the Lord will abide (dwell within) the people. 

We cannot literally or biologically bring Jesus back into the world as His mother did.  However, we can imitate what Mary did in life by doing the same – not maternal act – but the same obedient act. Through our humility and obedience, we can bring Jesus back into the world so that His peace can nurture the wounds of a hurting world and His spirit can carry a deprived world to that for which they hunger.  Jesus can thus abide in our lives and through our lives back to the world.   

How will you be Mary to others today?  What part of your independence can you surrender so others around you will have a brighter day?

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