Memorial of Saints Joachim and Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary
July 26, 2019
Today, in Mercy, our Exodus reading coincides perfectly with today’s Memorial Feast for Anne and Joachim, grandparents of Jesus.
In the passage, we have one of many Old Testament formulations of the Ten Commandments. We learned these codes as children, and perhaps have always interpreted them as laws which, when broken, marked us as sinners.
While this is one approach, a more mature and life-giving one is offered by the Biblical scholar Terence E. Fretheim:
The focus (of these directives) is on
protecting the health of the community,
to which end the individual plays such an important role.
Exodus: Interpretation: A Biblical Commentary for Teaching and Preaching
The command to honor one’s father and mother clearly demonstrates this approach. It is a command not only for children to be docile and obedient. Rather it denotes a life-long responsibility to care for parents and other nurturers of our lives. The command also suggests the responsibility of these nurturers to live honorably so that their children may respond to their example with equal honor.
Today is a day to pray for our own families and for all families, for the young and the elderly, and for those walking the tenuous bridge in between. It is a day to assess how well we carry our responsibilities to honor, obey, bless and foster life for one another.
It is a day to be deeply grateful for the love of family which we are blessed to experience; a day to pray for healing for those not equally blessed. Let us pray for families distressed by the necessity to migrate, and further burdened by nations’ failures to keep the commandment of neighborly love.
Like Mary, may we embrace the elders in our lives who love and need us, be these parents, mentors, community members, or neighbors. Scripture promises us that, in doing so, we shall have “mercy bestowed on us down to the thousandth generation.”
Music: Love Remains – Hillary Scott