Thursday, November 23, 2006

Those who hear the word

Luke 11
[27] While he was saying this, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, "Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you!" [28] But he said, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!"

What is really important in our life and faith? This is the question that is answered in the story where Jesus corrects a woman. There are many places where Jesus clearly respects the presence of women in a fashion equal to that of men. He listens to the Syro-phoenican woman and corrects himself because of her arguments. There are women who follow and provide for the disciples. In the New Testament there is mention of Junia as renowned among the apostles. This story isn’t about them. It’s about blessing a woman for whom she bore rather than for who she is. This story is about what is truly important in faith and that is those who hear the Word of God and obey it.

The ones who hear the word of God and do it are those who are blessed. Just having a famous child is not enough. Just having a famous spouse is not enough. Just having a famous parent is not enough. We are called out to do God’s will rather than wait for another.

The birth narratives, including the magnificat, make it clear that the mother of Jesus was one who heard God and did God’s will. Her acceptance of God’s will is clear. But that acceptance is the matter of import not her womb and her nursing of Jesus.

Yes raising children is important. Yet we have to ask the question what is of ultimate importance. For Christians who live out their faith family values are subordinate to following their savior. They will be like the women who followed and supported the disciples. They will be like the disciples who left their father and the fishing nets to follow Jesus. They will answer the call to give up their riches and go to those in need. We are called to hear the word of God and then go do it.

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