Saint Joachim and Saint Anne, parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Ecclesiasticus 44:1,10-15; Psalm 131(132):11,13-14,17-18; Matthew 13:16-17

There are no scriptural references to Mary's parents in the Gospels - but she must have had human parents. The Gospel of St James - which scholarship has shown to not have been authored by the apostle James and also is not recognised as an authentic source of faith or teaching - does mention them, and it is certain that the early christians reverenced their names.

The readings listed above are those suggested for the memorial. They emphasise the genealogy which is taken up later in the Gospels that links Jesus back through Mary to King David. Ecclesiasticus in a long section, much more than a mere list, identifies the genealogy from Enoch through David and on down to Simon the high priest. For each, a brief justification for their presence in the list of 'illustrious men' is given. (Ecclesiasticus 4 to 46). It is notable that the list only contains men - contrast with the genealogy in Matthew which includes four mothers - and as seems common in ancient texts, the meaning of the genealogy seems to be more important than accuracy as some kings known from historical sources are missed out!

Our Psalm today gives thanks for King David - who represents the unbroken line of contact between the people of God and their creator... 'For the Lord has chosen Zion; he has desired it for his dwelling: ‘This is my resting-place for ever; here have I chosen to live.' 

Matthew in today's short reading, tells us about the meaning of genealogy: that all of these ancestors longed for this day, when Christ would be physically present living among us - the child of a woman, with grandparents -  truly present amongst us. Although St John the Baptist is often presented to us as the symbol of the perpetual, never ending covenant between God and Israel, and Jesus as the source of the new covenant, we must remember and be grateful for the people of the old covenant who gave rise to the human presence of the new: Mary, Joachim and Anne.


Posted in Daily Reflection.