Luke 11: 27-28 Blessed Are They
Among all the crowded confusion and chatter in this not-so-crowded world, there is one who speaks softly and carries no big stick! While Jesus was speaking, a woman from the crowd called out and said, “Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts that nursed you!” Yes, it makes so much sense. Why should Mary not be the first among the beatitudes? Did Elizabeth not say it first, “Blessed are you among woman and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus?” Blessed indeed are you, Mary, who carried the Lord and was chosen by Him to be the Mother of God. So why does the Lord pause, take notice, and respond with a rebuttal? Why should we honor Mary?
“Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”
What does the Lord love? I can tell you from my experiences in the confessional that he loves a humble heart. A humble heart is a trusting heart. This rule of thumb is simple: If I can confess all my sins, then I can correct them! If I can admit my failings then I can fix them. This is such a hard saying, who can accept it but the meek and humble of heart?
There is so much to cover up in our lives: so much pain to “morphinize” and so many scars to wrap up. The danger is that we end up covering ourselves so well that we become mummies. The masks that we wear on a constant basis may change according to our situation, circumstances and individuals, but they are still masks and they still cover like armor the soft spots of our wounded flesh and soul. I am no psychiatrist, I couldn’t even spell the word if it weren’t for spell-check, but if the Lord gave me any type of understanding as a priest, it would be to understand the drama, the reality and truth, of sin and blessing. Why all this? For Christ’s sake!
“Let it be done to me according to your word.” Mary heard the Word, kept the Word and observed the Word for all of her life, including the years before and after the 33 years of her son’s earthly life. She is blessed because she heard, believed and observed all that her son asked and lived. Her last words, recorded in Scripture should be our last words recorded in the morning and at night time, “Do whatever he tells you.” This is godly advice from a holy woman. Mary's holiness is a humility that allowed her to trust and to believe that "The Lord is greater than I."
The woman in the crowd placed too much emphasis on the physical, the maternal aspect of Mary’s role in salvation. That would mean the exclusion of all women and of course all men. Yes, she cared for, nurtured, and bathed the Lord. She is an outstanding mom. But she is a wonderful Mother, a role model for all Christians because she contemplated what she did not understand and placed all these things within her heart. Mary’s love for the Lord surpasses all of the natural bonds of motherhood. Everything that the anonymous woman said was true, but there is more here than meets the eyes. She was neither Jew nor Greek, slave or free person, male or female, she was all for Christ: One for all and all for one!
Mary carried her son in her womb, and also in her heart, soul and mind. She nursed her son with her breasts, but also with her eyes, her lips, her love, her devotion and her fidelity. She was a disciple of the Lord and carried no sack, no money bag and no walking stick. Mary spoke softly and carried no big stick, except for one in the shape of a cross. Not a physical cross but a heavier one.
As we have just learned, our struggles and blessings are not always physical, but they are definitely real. Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it. If you think about it, life could not be any easier than this. It is amazing how you and I mess it all up!