Saturday, 26 July 2014 : 16th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Joachim and St. Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast day of two saints, St. Joachim and St. Anne. And in case you do not know who they are, they are actually the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the father and mother of the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, and thus, they are the grandparents of our Lord. They truly had a great significance, especially in moulding Mary, born immaculate without sin, into the great servant of the Lord she is now.

In an age and time when mankind lived in sin, and lived in a world filled with uncertainty, greed and endless desires, St. Joachim and St. Anne were simple people, who lived humbly and righteously before God, following Him in all of His precepts and were totally obedient to His will. The light that was in them, was truly crucial, as this light became a guiding light for the one whom they bore into this world, the Mother of our Saviour.

It is perhaps that St. Joachim and St. Anne themselves did not realise how great an impact they would have on the world through Mary their daughter. However, it is through their commitment and devotion to God, and in their loving and tender care for their daughter Mary, that they imparted the love of God to her, and from her, eventually to Jesus, her Son, and eventually to all of us.

The role of St. Joachim and St. Anne cannot be diminished or be ridiculed or be made less important, for we all should know what kind of responsibilities that parents may have, or are expected to have. It is through their careful and dedicated work on Mary their daughter, that our Blessed Mother grew great in her faith. She was conceived without sin and any taints of darkness like that of her Son, Jesus, but this alone will not be good, if she did not have loving parents as that of St. Joachim and St. Anne to care for her and to provide for her spiritual growth and well-being as she grew up.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, it is imperative now that we talk about the family, and yes, the family itself as a sacred and crucial unit of the Christian society and the Church, and the dangers that are facing the family as an institution of the Christian faith. We all know that our world today and the currents of our times are not exactly favourable or friendly to the family. In fact, it was an outright hostility, if not direct conflict between the family and its values, and the contemporary ways of this world.

All of us have to understand this, by first understanding the importance of marriage, and its sanctity, being a Holy Sacrament of the Church. Marriage is a holy occasion, when a male and a female adult are joined together in matrimonial agreement and Sacrament before God, and promised to be together till death separates them. And remember that, in marriage, God made man and woman into one, one in body and spirit, and no bond that God had made sacred, man may divide.

And yet, marriage is increasingly becoming a plaything and a ridicule for the world. Marriage is no longer considered by many as sacred and holy, and many have forgotten that it is not something to be taken lightly. We have to look at how many people had decided to dissolve their marriage because of various reasons, but if we look at all those reasons, they are truly mankind’s selfish desires and their inability to reject the temptations and the lies of Satan.

Marriage inevitably leads to family, for marriage is not just for the sake of pleasure, and in particular, it should never be seen for the sake of the pleasures of the flesh and for the enjoyment of this world. If this is the case, then we have truly failed to understand the value and importance of marriage. Marriage is to bring about a holy union intended towards the creation of life. Yes, marriage inevitably leads to family, with child-bearing the grace of God to all mothers.

Therefore the family itself too is an important institution, especially because we have to realise that in our faith, we need a strong and firm foundation from the very beginning, if we are to be able to resist Satan and all of his advances on us. Without a strong foundation of faith in the family, we will not be able to reject him with full certainty, and may end up failing miserably and fall into sin.

Following the examples of St. Joachim and St. Anne, and in how they brought up Mary, the mother of our Lord, let us all remember, those in the family and with children in particular, that our familial bond must be strong, and that it must be based on love, as well as on faith in God. We have to always remember the saying, that a family that prays together will stay together.

Therefore, let us all renew our commitments to the Lord, beginning from our own families, making the effort to come together, pray together and glorify the Lord together through our actions as a family. Let us keep holy our family, respect one another in the family, and together let us help one another, as well as in the great family of the Church of God, to come ever closer to the Lord our God, seeking Him always at all times.

May God bless all families, keep them holy and in love, so that all peoples may grow forever stronger in love, in hope and in faith. Amen.