Sunday, July 25, 2010


The Annunciation to Joachim
by Bartol O DiFredi, 1383


Biographical Information about
St. Joachim and St. Anne [1]

Readings for the Memorial of Sts. Joachim and Anne

Readings and Commentary:

Sirach 44:1, 10-15

Now will I praise those godly men,
our ancestors, each in his own time:
These were godly men
whose virtues have not been forgotten;
Their wealth remains in their families,
their heritage with their descendants;
Through God's covenant with them their family endures,
their posterity for their sake.

And for all time their progeny will endure,
their glory will never be blotted out;
Their bodies are peacefully laid away,
but their name lives on and on.
At gatherings their wisdom is retold,
and the assembly proclaims their praise.
Commentary on
Sir 44:1, 10-15

In this passage we hear the author extol the virtue of the great people of faith who have gone before – Prophets and patriarchs. He also speaks of those “forgotten” faithful who because they kept their covenant with God, have passed on that heritage and faith to endless generations.

CCC: Sir 44:9-20 2112
Psalm 132:11, 13-14, 17-18

R. (Luke 1:32) God will give him the throne of David, his father.

The LORD swore to David
a firm promise from which he will not withdraw:
"Your own offspring
I will set upon your throne."
R. God will give him the throne of David, his father.

For the LORD has chosen Zion;
he prefers her for his dwelling.
"Zion is my resting place forever;
in her will I dwell, for I prefer her."
R. God will give him the throne of David, his father.

"In her will I make a horn to sprout forth for David;
I will place a lamp for my anointed.
His enemies I will clothe with shame,
but upon him my crown shall shine."
R. God will give him the throne of David, his father.
Commentary on
Ps 132:11, 13-14, 17-18

Psalm 132 is a song of thanksgiving song by the community as they remember the establishment of God’s salvation expressed in the Davidic dynasty. The promise of God is fulfilled in Jesus, the Messiah, who comes from the house of David to rule forever.

Matthew 13:16-17

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Blessed are your eyes, because they see,
and your ears, because they hear.
Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people
longed to see what you see but did not see it,
and to hear what you hear but did not hear it."
Commentary on
Mt 13:16-17

Following the “Parable of the Sower” the disciples approach Jesus to ask him why he does not speak more clearly to the people instead of using the parables that some find confusing. His response recorded in the Gospel of Matthew is much softer that the same story related in
Mark 4:11ff “Since a parable is figurative speech that demands reflection for understanding, only those who are prepared to explore its meaning can come to know it. To understand is a gift of God, granted to the disciples but not to the crowds. In Semitic fashion, both the disciples' understanding and the crowd's obtuseness are attributed to God.” [3]

Concluding, Jesus reflects upon
Isaiah 6:9-10 in a lament that the people will not understand what he reveals because their hearts are hardened

CCC: Mt 13:3-23 1724; Mt 13:10-17 787

Tradition holds that Jesus’ grandparents, Joachim and Anne, were told separately by messengers from God, angels, that their daughter was with child. It is consistent with the notification of Joseph and Mary, the human parents of the Lord, that this mechanism was employed. God was fiercely involved in the conception of the Lord through the Holy Spirit.

To most people of the day, however, this flurry of heavenly messengers would have seemed far-fetched had it been widely known at the time. We must assume that Joachim and Anne did not go to their neighbors and tell them: “Guess what, my daughter is pregnant by the Holy Spirit.”

What we are given surrounding the conception of the Lord is a remarkable group of saints who provide us with examples of not only obedience but perception and acceptance of God’s plan in their lives. Like Mary their daughter and their son-in-law Joseph, they heard the messenger of God and accepted, lovingly, the role God had chosen for their family.

In today’s Gospel from St. Matthew we hear the Lord tell the disciples “…blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear”. The ability to see God’s plan for us and hear the Lord’s response to our prayer is what we ask for today. For us, life is God’s parable and it is up to us to see in it the messages he places in it for us. Like Joachim and Anne, we must see and understand if we are to fulfill God’s plan for us.


[1] The picture is The Annunciation to Joachim by Bartol O DiFredi, 1383
[2] The readings are taken from the New American Bible with the exception of the Psalm and its response which were developed by the International Committee for English in Liturgy (ICEL). This re-publication is not authorized by USCCB and is for private use only.
[3] See NAB Footnote on Matthew 13: 10-17

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