Saints for the day: Joachim & Anne (1st Century)
Exodus 16: 1-5, 9-15 – Psalm 78 – Matthew 13:1-9
“Blessed be the one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (cf. Eph 4:6)
Today’s saints – Joachim and Anne – the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary don’t get much reference in the Holy Scriptures and we don’t know very much about them. All you have to do is let your mind wander and wonder how they must have felt when they learned that there daughter was chosen to be the Mother of God! It’s interesting that we are in the middle of hearing how the Israelite community responded to their being chosen as the people of God. In this, we are all being reminded that God can touch our lives in all kinds of different ways and He will never run out of ways of inviting us to follow the path of God.
We are also hearing the story of the exodus of the Israelites who received the “call” and began following in God’s way – which wasn’t easy either. And we can certainly see similar results in the examples of the disciples and early followers of Jesus. In all these cases people begin with enthusiasm to hear God’s/Jesus’ call and very soon after – like the seeds fallen on the wayside – they forget what God has done in their lives and begin to go back to their “fleshpots” in the captivity of … whoever was their previous oppressors.
I don’t think we have to spend too much time trying to see the similarities in all of these cases even when we add in our own situations. If we are honest about how we follow the Lord we will see that we stumble and wander on and off the path. We easily forget how God has blessed us and turn back to ways that short-circuit our journey. So, when we look at this Gospel – again a repeat of a familiar story – we need to see that we are all the parts of that story at various times in our life and our journey. We are almost never totally one or the other of the seed examples but often slide from one to the other. And we are the soil, too!
In the Gospels Peter swears he will never leave the Lord. But he quickly forgets. What we have to remember is the fact that Jesus calls him (and us, too) back … over and over again: “Do you love me…do you love me … do you love me?”
And Jesus is counting on our ability to let his forgiving grace flow through us so that he can build his church upon our weak, broken spirit – over and over, again and again. Amen!