MARY AS THE PERFECT EXAMPLE OF ONE WHO HEARS THE WORD OF GOD AND PUT IT INTO PRACTICE
First Reading: Micah 7:14-15,18-20
Responsorial Psalm: 84(85):2-8
Gospel Reading: Matthew 12:46-50
Since the fall of man, concupiscence has often prevented man from doing the will of God. As a result, God sent his prophets of old to teach man how to do His will, but none was able to realize this perfectly. Unfortunately, man preferred sin to God’s will, and as a result, suffered its consequences by going into exile among other setbacks.
The first reading from the prophet Micah reveals this truth. It consists of a prayer which appears to be from the time after the return of the Jews from exile in Babylon (537 BC), when the people were still few in number, possessed only a fragment of their former land, and were surrounded by hostile nations. It is a plea for God to take care of his beleaguered people. We can always be sure of his “faithfulness” and of his “faithful love” which he had promised so long ago and so many times. Nevertheless, we should equally meet up and be faithful on our part of the covenant – hearing the Word of God and putting it into practice. This is what Jesus teaches us in today’s gospel reading, in his words: “Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven, he is my brother and sister and mother.” Through this statement, Jesus presents the Blessed Virgin Mary as the perfect model of one who not only hears the Word of God but keeps it in accordance with God’s will. This we see at the scene of the Annunciation – “I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me according to thy word” (cf. Lk. 1:26-38).
Dear friends in Christ, It is not enough to listen to the Word, it is necessary to keep it and put it into practice, as the Virgin Mary did; and just as St, James exhorts: “But you must do what the Word tells you and not just listen to it and deceive yourselves. Anyone who listens to the Word and takes no action is like someone who looks at his own features in a mirror and, once he has seen what he looks like, goes off and immediately forgets it. But anyone who looks steadily at the perfect law of freedom and keeps to it — not listening and forgetting, but putting it into practice — will be blessed in every undertaking.” The act of “listening,” in the biblical sense, is “understanding,” “welcoming,” “obeying” and “doing.” True “listening to the Word” takes place when one loves, not in words, but “in deeds and in truth” (1 Jn 3:18).
As we return to the school of the Blessed Virgin Mary, may we learn from her always to listen to God’s words and act in accordance with His Will. Amen.
O that today you would listen to his voice, harden not your hearts!
© Fr. Chinaka Justin Mbaeri, OSJ
Paroquia Nossa Senhora de Fatima, Vila Sabrina, São Paulo, Brazil
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