Mary is great because in order to bring this child into the world, she was willing to listen, to trust, and to put into practice God’s word.
Today’s readings can be found here. Read Fr. Epicoco’s brief reflections on the daily Mass readings, Monday through Saturday, here. For Sunday Mass reading commentary from Fr. Rytel-Andrianik, see here.
Even in Jesus’ time there were women who had no problem shouting aloud their convictions laden with affection and devotion, just as sometimes happens in many countries today during processions on religious feast days:
“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.”
But the difference is simple: This woman wasn’t shouting during a procession, but directly in front of Jesus, and He immediately took advantage of this opportunity to properly channel all that devotion and affection:
“He replied, ‘Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.’”
At first glance this may seem to be a lack of sensitivity toward Mary, but in fact Jesus is saying something that gives her even more honor: Mary is not only great because she brought Jesus into the world, as every mother does with her child. She is great because in order to bring this child into the world, she was willing to listen, to trust, and to put into practice God’s word.
In this sense each of us is in the same situation as Mary. Each of us can be blessed if we listen to Jesus’ words and put them into practice, and thus mysteriously make his presence concrete again. Honoring Christ (and anyone who is connected with him, such as Mary and the saints) means taking his message seriously and not merely admiring it as fans do. We are disciples, not mere followers.
Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.