Saturday of 27th week Samedi de la 27e semaine

’Happy is the mother who bore you in her womb.’
Friday 26 August 2016

Ga.3,22-29 Ps.109 Lk.11,27-28

Saturday of 27th week, even numbered year

’As Jesus was speaking, a woman in the centre of the crowd raised her voice’

How courageous this woman is as she takes up Jesus’ defence. Jesus is right in the middle of a group of hostile people and is being attacked from all sides. Yes, she is indeed brave, for in those days women didn’t really have the right to speak up in public.

This woman speaks about another woman : Jesus’ Mother, Mary. She suggests another beatitude : ’Blessed is the woman who bore you and gave you her milk!’

In this way she underlines Mary’s happiness, and in doing so she pays homage to Jesus in an indirect sort of way. Jesus is the child of this woman, and he is there in front of her, she must defend him, support him, for the crowd is attacking him.

Jesus does not endeavour to find a support in this help, but instead he answers by moving the Beatitude elsewhere and gives another one : ’Blessed rather are those who listen to the Word of God and put it into practice!’

Jesus’ words take this woman by surprise and she is surprised by what he is, she is taken up with admiration by the way Jesus answers her, and she magnifies even more the woman who bore him.

We can understand that there is something here which is quite surprising, a mother has enough to be glorified by her child and this is what happens.

Mary had carried Jesus in her womb, Elizabeth said she was blessed : ’All generations will call you blessed, you who believed in the Words spoken to you from the Lord.’

Jesus’ Mummy, Mary is indeed very fortunate to have such a child! This woman’s cry echoes something which is deeply rooted in our human nature : how we marvel at the grace of this human nature. Human nature is capable of God and shines forth this reality.This woman in the Gospel is right, Jesus will

open up for her a way so that she will have an inner relationship linked to the Word of God.

If we accept to receive the Word of God, if we keep it in our life through faith, it transforms and glorifies it.

’Then Jesus declared : ’Rather the happy ones are those who hear the Word of God and who put it into practice.’

By the way Jesus answers he moves something : not only is there one person who is happy but everyone who listens to him are happy. It is a collective happiness which the crowd is in need of ; complete happiness comes over the multitude. Jesus is not interested in his own happiness, nor that of his mother, but in the happiness of whoever is in front of him. This woman is referring to human activities which are of course praiseworthy, necessary ones, and Jesus tells us how true happiness is in the practice of the Word of God ; this is what gives us access to the spiritual life, to true life.

Mary received a grace and when it comes down to it, she didn’t have anything to do with God’s choice, she only had to accept it.

But it’s not so hard : what woman would refuse to be ’visited’ by the Holy Spirit and to bring into the world God’s Anointed One.

Jesus takes up his speech :’’Blessed are those who hear the Word of God.’ He places the event on a level of grace.

Here we are then faced with what Mary went through, the transformation that faith brought about in her life : ’Blessed are those who keep the Word of God.’ Mary did indeed receive this Divine Will : the Word became flesh! Mary received Jesus and she was transformed but it

The Word of God leads to the One who pronounces it : Jesus. This Living Word of God transports us into the Love of God, it is not by our efforts that we acquire faith but we prepare ourselves to be on the same level as the Gift of God.

Jesus reveals Mary’s secret to the whole of humanity. A life of grace is a free Gift from God, it is given, received in faith at each moment, so as to transform our whole life.

"The woman said to him ’Happy is the mother who bore you in her womb and gave you her milk!’

The happiness of God is transmitted by his Word and not by a filiation or family closeness. Jesus shifts our attention to this reality.

The verb that is used here to ’observe’ the Word of God is the same one used to observe the Law, commandments.Observance of the Word is recommended so as to simply be happy. If you look after others, you shall be happy, if you help them to be healed, to find food, to be integrated in society. It is the happiness of love that is given. Jesus’ reflex is one of humility, of discretion. He is not bothered about himself. But what he is bothered about Is this Word that comes right back from Jewish history, Jesus resuscitated it, it is resumed in Love for our neighbour as for oneself. You shall be happy when you shall have understood that this Love is more important than paying homage to me, or to my mother.

The Gospel proposes the same transformation, one that changes our life as someone who is baptised. Our life becomes a life of faith, hope and charity. This Word helps us to be found in the freedom of those who have reclothed Christ, become the beloved children of the Father. Through our baptism in Christ we are henceforth capable to catch a glimpse of what we are to have to do in order to be renewed and to do it with the strength and light that faith gives to us.

Mary welcomed the Word of God with the heart of a deep believer. She welcomed Jesus in her faith.He is the Word made flesh, this Loving Word transformed her on a deep level and Jesus gave her this new Love who is the Holy Spirit.

We ask for the grace to live from Faith so as enter into the secret of the Infinite Love of God.