Fr. Mike’s Homily for Saturday of the 27th week in Ordinary Time Cycle I

Word of God

Word of God

Fr. Mike’s Homily for Saturday of the 27th week in Ordinary Time Cycle I

Theme: Listen to the word of God

By: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches

 

Homily for Saturday October 9 2021

Saturday – Week 27
October 09, 2021
Lk 11:27-28

While Jesus was speaking, a woman from the crowd called out and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts at which you nursed.” He replied, “Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”

“Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts at which you nursed.” This statement may be rephrased as, “How truly blessed and fortunate is the woman that produced such a fine son as you!”
Presumably, this woman does not know the Blessed Mother. She must have been totally amazed at the wonders done by Jesus in the presence of the crowd.

But Jesus deflects the woman’s words by saying, “Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.” This is not to disregard His own mother. On the contrary, He gives her the highest praise, for it highlights her true and exceptional greatness. The true source of Mary’s greatness is not in her Divine Motherhood, not even in her Immaculate Conception, but in her unconditional ‘Yes’ to God that she faithfully lived from the Annunciation up to the foot of the cross. No other human being can compare with her in terms of hearing the word of God and observing it. “Mary’s greatness,” according to Pope Benedict XVI, “consists in the fact that she wants to magnify God, not herself.”

The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church of Vatican II proclaims Mary as the model for the Church. She teaches by her own life and example how to accept the word of God, to observe it and to live it, even if she does not fully understand it and causes her great pains and sufferings. In fact, being the first and most perfect disciple, Mary is just following Jesus who shows by example how to fully listen to the word of the Father and faithfully obey it until death on the cross.

In following Jesus, the first step is to listen to His word. To listen means to be quiet in order to pay heed and have an attentive ear. In the Scriptures, hearing is of more importance than seeing. After all, God is not seen but heard, for He is the eternal Word: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (Jn 1:1).

That is why, from eternity, God speaks. He speaks to Himself: “Let us make human beings in our image, after our likeness” (Gen 1:26). He speaks and all things were made. The words, “Then God said” are repeated all throughout the entire act of creation. Yahweh also speaks to His people through His prophets. In proclaiming of God’s message, the prophets often begin with, “Listen!” Thus, the centerpiece of the morning and evening prayer services of every Jew begins with the words, ‘Shema Ysrael’ (“Hear, O Israel!).

And best of all, God continues to speak through Jesus, His Son: “In these last days, He spoke to us through a son, whom He made heir of all things and through whom He created the universe” (Heb 1:2). That is why, teaching and preaching are the main activities of Jesus in His ministry (Mt 4:23). And in His teachings, Jesus often begins and ends with the exhortation, ‘Listen!’: “Whoever has ears ought to hear” (Mt 13:9).

But lest we forget, Jesus is clear in His teaching: listening is just the first step. The second step is doing: “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.” At one time, Jesus told His listeners in the synagogue, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it” (Lk.8:21).

We listen God’s word not just for the sake of listening, but in order to do and obey His instructions. Anyone who just listens, but does not observe or follow what he heard is like a foolish man who built his house on sandy ground. As the Lord warns, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven” (Mt 7:21).

Needless to say, the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary serves as the best guide for us. She listened to God’s word. She acted on it. And she “kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart” (Lk 2:19). St. Anselm says: “She so listened to the word of God that it took flesh within her.”

Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches

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