YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THURSDAY OF THE 16TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME. MEMORIAL OF SAINTS JOACHIM AND ANNE
HOMILY THEME: SAINTS JOACHIM AND ANNE: MODELS OF SAINTLY PARENTHOOD.
BY: Fr. Evaristus Abu
_“Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. Truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.” (Matthew 13:16-17)_
Yesterday, we celebrated St. James the Apostle, and we noted how the mother of James brought her two sons to Jesus requesting for seats (assurance) in heaven. Today, we are celebrating the life of St. Joachim and St. Anne, the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Even though nothing is said about Joachim and Anne in the Bible, one fact we cannot deny is that FAMILY IS IMPORTANT as far as human life is concerned.
The type of family a child is brought up goes a long way to determine the future of that child. When the family is solid, the child or children are solid. When the family is holy, the children grow up in holiness. When the family is worldly or when the parents are careless, the children are just at the mercy of God.
James and John were brought up in a God- fearing home, their mother was a prayer warrior and she acted out her prayer by coming directly to Jesus on behalf of her sons. I read somewhere that: “You can never get anywhere in life unless your mother’s prayers have gotten there already.”
Mary was the virgin that God found so pure, so holy, so strong, so generous and so humble and He decided to become flesh in her womb. Mary did not fall from heaven; she had a strong father and a prayerful mother; they both “cooked” their daughter to become blessed among all women.
Honestly, we are still a society that values male children over female children. For instance, it is only recently that a court of the land ruled to allow female children right to inheritance in Igboland. Investing in male children is considered normal but investing in female children is according to the popular saying “training a child for another person (her future husband).” From this perspective, we must praise Joachim and Anne for not neglecting their duties on the grounds that Mary was a female.
As a father or a mother, what efforts am I making to ensure my children (especially the girl-child) are as pure in heart as Blessed Virgin Mary?
Do I simply shout the hell out of my voice saying: “Do not do this, or do not do that,” without providing the necessary environment, the materials, time and friendship with my children so as to produce an overall healthy social and moral growth? Do they have spiritual instructional materials scattered around the playroom? What type of music do they listen to? Raising children is not easy but once you take serious responsibility as a father or mother, God does the rest.
Once upon a time, a little boy (about 8-10yrs) told me how he and his siblings were playing in the house one afternoon and they found a pornographic DVD carefully hidden in the most unlikely of places. It was like the feeling of Christopher Columbus upon discovering America! Dear friends, no one can give what he does not have. Don’t go complaining about your children not listening to your instructions when in fact, you do not practice what you preach! The question is: “who hid such there and why?”
Some children are being introduced to pornography directly from their parents’ phones. A child is trying to access the internet to check up a topic given in school only to discover the history pages on your phone and viola!!! Some children are even taught to steal by their parents like the case of a woman who brought her children to church and positioned them in strategic corners to pick pockets and bring to her.
To be a parent is a blessing. To have a female daughter is a blessing. Even if all your children are girls, never for once wish for something else. As Jesus says in today’s Gospel passage: “Blessed are your eyes, for they see and your ears for they hear.” Consider yourself lucky to know Jesus who was raised by a woman who happen to be raised by saintly parents.
Put your entire heart into raising your girl child; draw her close to God, teach her to pray. Who knows if your name will forever be remembered in world history because of this your female child? Be inspired by Joachim and Anne.
Let us Pray: Lord Jesus, grant that nothing may ever prevent me from achieving eternal life with you in paradise. Amen.
*Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Feast of St. James, the Apostle. Bible Study: 2nd Corinthians 4:7-15, Psalm 126:1-6, Matthew 20:20-28).