SS JOACHIM AND ANNE, PARENTS OF THE B.V.M. (Memorial) White
First Reading: Ex 16:1-5. 9-15; Psalm: 78 R. v. 24b; Gospel: Mt 13:1-9
IMPROVING ON THE GOOD FRUITS
BY FR VALENTINE NNAMDI EGBUONU, MSP.
Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundred, some sixty, some thirty (Mt 13:8).
We can approach the gospel of today with more sense of optimism. Because each time we come across the parable of the sower, there is always that tension to begin to identify ourselves more on the side of the seed that fell along the path, the rocky ground and the thorny soil. We probably do this in a bid to avoid that sanctimonious attitude that can relapse to complacency. But we are not too bad after all. There are at least some fruits of the gospel visible in our lives. If they do not fit into the profile of a hundred, sixty or thirtyfold; maybe going lower to twenty, ten or even fivefold will suit our profile. Because at least we do try.
According to this parable, to bring forth grain or to bear fruit means to reflect the values of the gospel visibly in our lives. At least each of us is not too bad not to have done any good at all. We may have been consistent in carrying out certain works of charity; this too are fruits of the gospel that we can improve on. There are degrees to our responsiveness to the gospel message. If our responses are too little, we can improve on them. We can be optimistic as against despairing. Saints Joachim and Anne were not perfect. But it was by building on their good works that they became saintly and were worthy to be chosen to be the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Tradition has it that Joachim and Anne offered Mary to serve at the temple when Mary was three years old. This should be an example to parents on how they ought to bring up their children in the ways of the Lord through righteous living and dedication to God in prayer. It is through good dedication to Christian parenting that we can prepare a suitable soil for our children to bear the good fruits of the gospel. But as Christian parents, we need to first of all build our spirituality to reflect the values of the gospel so as to offer our children an example to follow. Otherwise, we would make little or no impact in their lives; for we cannot offer what we do not have.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Lord Jesus, may we grow in holiness and good works. Amen.