BLESSED ARE THE BELIEVERS
The prophets, like Joel today, do not speak of the Day of Judgment as an unqualified day of vengeance and punishment; hope is there, for the prophecy is a warning to seek conversion. If God’s people change their ways, God will be merciful and restore them.
In the gospel, a woman admires Jesus, and with perhaps a hint of jealousy, she exclaims that indeed the mother of Jesus must be a fortunate woman to have such a son. Jesus’ answer goes deeper, to a deeper motherhood, for those who bear Jesus, the Word of God in their hearts and their lives: those therefore who bring forth Jesus in faith.
Lord our God,
your Son was born into this world
from the Blessed Virgin Mary.
We praise you for your goodness
but we also ask this of you:
Let your Son be born in us in faith,
in our lives: in our words, our thoughts,
our attitudes and all we do.
And then, out of the fullness in us,
may we share him with those around us
as the Lord who belongs to all
now and for ever. Amen!
1 Reading: Joel 4:12-21
Thus says the LORD: Let the nations bestir themselves and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; for there will I sit in judgment upon all the neighbouring nations. Apply the sickle, for the harvest is ripe; Come and tread, for the wine press is full; the vats overflow, for great is their malice. Crowd upon crowd in the valley of decision; for near is the day of the LORD in the valley of decision. Sun and moon are darkened, and the stars withhold their brightness. The LORD roars from Zion, and from Jerusalem raises his voice; The heavens and the earth quake, but the LORD is a refuge to his people, a stronghold to the children of Israel. Then shall you know that I, the LORD, am your God, dwelling on Zion, my holy mountain; Jerusalem shall be holy, and strangers shall pass through her no more. And then, 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. Egypt shall be a waste, and Edom a desert waste, Because of violence done to the people of Judah, because they shed innocent blood in their land. But Judah shall abide forever, and Jerusalem for all generations. I will avenge their blood, and not leave it unpunished. The LORD dwells in Zion.
Responsorial Psalm 97:1-2, 5-6, 11-12
R. (12a) Rejoice in the Lord, you just!
The LORD is king; let the earth rejoice;
let the many isles be glad.
Clouds and darkness are round about him,
justice and judgment are the foundation of his throne. R.
The mountains melt like wax before the LORD,
before the LORD of all the earth.
The heavens proclaim his justice,
and all peoples see his glory. R.
Light dawns for the just;
and gladness, for the upright of heart.
Be glad in the LORD, you just,
and give thanks to his holy name. R.
Alleluia: Luke 11:28
Blessed are those who hear the word of God
and observe it.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel: Luke 11:27-28
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.”
From a purely human perspective, the woman’s praise of Jesus’ mother in today’s Gospel gives Christ an ideal opportunity to speak of his mother’s virtues. But the Gospels repeatedly show that Jesus extols another form of relationship comprised of those who accept and live the word of God. Given the right setting, Christ would certainly have extolled the virtues of his mother. But the mission given him by the Father far surpassed his human ties. He was the end-time prophet sent to announce the advent of the reign of God. Therefore, whenever in the gospel his attention is drawn to his human family, he immediately indicates that the family that matters is the community of believers.
This teaching is further confirmed by the “life in Christ” teaching. The risen Christ is endowed by the Father with that life-giving Spirit that makes us part of God’s family. This new life force makes us brothers and sisters of Christ and children of the one Abba (Father). This relationship with Christ goes far beyond human procreation and is essentially connected with the mission of Jesus.
Our reading from Joel today highlights Judah and Jerusalem. So often taken to task by the prophets for its faithlessness and betrayal, Judah sees its enemies punished for their violence, while she retains her privileged position.
It is an interesting note. Judah, so frequently chastened for her own infidelity, in the end sees God still faithful to his initial promises. It verifies the word of scripture: although we may be unfaithful, he remains ever faithful.
In remaining faithful to God’s word and living it, Christ calls us blessed. Great good fortune is our spiritual birthright.
– That we may be grateful to the Lord Jesus that we know him and love him, we pray:
– That with Mary we may pray that God’s word may be fulfilled in us, we pray:
– That there may be more people to hear the word of God proclaimed to them, we pray:
Prayer over the Gifts
God our Father,
your sons and daughters pray to you
to give us here and now your Son Jesus Christ.
Let him warm our hearts,
make us similar to him,
fill us with his Holy Spirit,
that he may become fully alive in us and we in him
and that through us his light may shine
and drive away the darkness of this world,
for Jesus is our Lord for ever. Amen!
Prayer after Communion
Lord our God,
create us anew through your word
and let Jesus, your living Word,
grow in us day after day.
May we keep rising with him
above our self-sufficiency
and learn from him to bring him to life in others
with an extended hand, a gesture of compassion,
and a smile of hope to the lonely.
Let him live in us now and for ever. Amen!
The word of God is not just a word but an action. That is even the meaning of “word” in the Old Testament: both word and action. May the word of God become action in us, deeds of goodness and love and service. And may almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!