26 July – Memorial of Saint Joachim and Anne, parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Husband of Saint Anne, elderly father of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Grandfather of Jesus Christ. Probably well off. Tradition says that while he was away from home, he and Anne each received a message from an angel that she was pregnant. Believed to have given Mary to the service of the Temple when the girl was three years old.
Joachim is mentioned in neither historical nor canonical writings. The information we have on Joachim derives mainly from the apocryphal Protoevangelium of James.
Mother of Our Lady. Grandmother of Jesus Christ. Wife of Saint Joachim. Probably well off. Tradition says that Anne was quite elderly when Mary was born, and that she was their only child. The belief that Anne remained a virgin in the conception and birth of Mary was condemned by the Vatican in 1677. Believed to have given Mary to the service of the Temple when the girl was three years old. Devotion to her has been popular in the East from the very early days of the Church; widespread devotion in the West began in the 16th century, but many shrines have developed since.
– The Patron Saint Index
God spoke all these words. He said, ‘I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
‘You shall have no gods except me.
‘You shall not make yourself a carved image or any likeness of anything in heaven or on earth beneath or in the waters under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God and I punish the father’s fault in the sons, the grandsons, and the great-grandsons of those who hate me; but I show kindness to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
‘You shall not utter the name of the Lord your God to misuse it, for the Lord will not leave unpunished the man who utters his name to misuse it.
‘Remember the sabbath day and keep it holy. For six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath for the Lord your God. You shall do no work that day, neither you nor your son nor your daughter nor your servants, men or women, nor your animals nor the stranger who lives with you. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth and the sea and all that these hold, but on the seventh day he rested; that is why the Lord has blessed the sabbath day and made it sacred.
‘Honour your father and your mother so that you may have a long life in the land that the Lord your God has given to you.
‘You shall not kill.
‘You shall not commit adultery.
‘You shall not steal.
‘You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.
‘You shall not covet your neighbour’s house. You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or his servant, man or woman, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is his.’
Jesus said to his disciples, ‘You are to hear the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom without understanding, the evil one comes and carries off what was sown in his heart: this is the man who received the seed on the edge of the path. The one who received it on patches of rock is the man who hears the word and welcomes it at once with joy. But he has no root in him, he does not last; let some trial come, or some persecution on account of the word, and he falls away at once. The one who received the seed in thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this world and the lure of riches choke the word and so he produces nothing. And the one who received the seed in rich soil is the man who hears the word and understands it; he is the one who yields a harvest and produces now a hundredfold, now sixty, now thirty.’
And the one who received the seed in rich soil is the man who hears the word and understands it
It has often been said that some people believe in adherence to the letter of the law rather than the spirit of the law. Sometimes it may seem easier to compare how one has been more scrupulous in keeping the law rather than understanding what the purpose of the law is.
The Ten Commandments were given to the people in the desert and at first glance it appears to be very stern but if we look deeper into it, the reason for the tone of it was that the people of Israel at that time had to be instructed strictly because they were prone to forgetting the works which God had done for them. Indeed this is very important for us to take note of because we are now living in a world where we need to explain to others our beliefs.
Jesus has mentioned that for a harvest to be yielded, the man must hear and understand it. This is an important value for all of us to remember as it is not the mere hearing but also understanding the commandment of God. To understand the commandment of God requires us to meditate on it in prayer and allow it to be assimilated into our lives.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Nicholas Chia)
Prayer: Dear Lord, let us have a spirit of understanding in our lives.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for all who love us.