11Oct 11th October. Saturday of Week 27

Saint Canice, abbot.

Saint Cainnech (Latin Canicus), was a 6th century monastic founder and missionary said to have been born in Dungiven, Derry, and to have died in Kilkenny (Cill ). Anything we know of him is from the few references in Adomnán’s Life of Saint Columba.

First Reading: Galatians 3:22-29

(In Christ, all the baptized are equally children of God, Jew or gentile, slave or free, male or female.)

But the scripture has imprisoned all things under the power of sin, so that what was promised through faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.

As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.

Gospel: Luke 11:27-28

(More blessed than the womb that bore Jesus is the one who hears God’s word and keeps it.)

While Jesus was speaking, 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!”; But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!”

The Sword of the Word

Paul tells how the privileged role of Israel, God’s elect people over eighteen centuries, is ended. From now on, “all are one in Christ Jesus.” And Luke seems to have in mind the prophecy of Simeon to Mary that she would be “pierced with a sword” (Luke 2:35). With what a shock of bewilderment must Mary have interpreted Jesus’ response to a woman who shouted her spontaneous praise for the one who nursed Jesus, when he said, “Rather blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it.”

The sword of God’s word reaches to the heart of things in Galatians, to strike down all false, artificial boundaries between “Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female.” Paul writes: All of you who have been baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with him. The pain and humility by which divisions and grievances may be healed are usually more difficult than the offence which initially provoked the differences. Paul summons us to this “valley of decision,” to heal old wounds and family disputes, to become “one in Christ Jesus.”

No one escapes the sharp sword of God’s word, not even Jesus’ own blessed mother. Her role does not stop with her physical motherhood and her gentle, life-giving care of the infant Jesus at her breast. She too listened continually to God’s word and acted on its inspirations. In Luke, Mary is presented in just that way, treasuring God’s word, spoken through her wide reach of neighbours, and reflecting on them in her heart (Luke 2:19). We too must listen again this day to God’s word and act on it with new faith and confidence, and reach out with new bonds of love to our faith-family across the world, as close to us as brothers and sisters.

One Response

  1. Soline Humbert

    AS a woman,I have always been very glad that Jesus didn’t go along with reducing a woman,his mother, to some of her body parts,no matter how beautiful or useful: to her womb and her breasts. I am glad he considered Mary blessed, as a whole person, for hearing ,truly hearing the Word of God, and putting it into practice. How revolutionary at a time when women’s role and identity was to be the bearers of children begotten by men,and preferably male children….Jesus never advocated special vocations for women,based on their biology: The sermon on the Mount is the same for all his diciples. He treats women as whole persons first and foremost.”In Christ,there is no longer male and female”.In the church,sadly,there still is.


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