Daily Reflection
October 11th, 2003
Joan Howard
University College
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Joel 4:12-21
Psalm 97:1-2, 5-6, 11-12
Luke 11:27-28

One short verse in Luke’s gospel, in so few words, says so much. 

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."

Without peeking at what comes before or what follows, these two sentences captivate my imagination.  A scene comes to my mind.  A middle-aged woman is standing in the crowd.  She is entranced by the person of Jesus.  Initially she is attracted by the magnetism of this handsome young man.  As she listens, she is drawn in by the gentleness of his eyes and the ease of his body language.  His words deliver a message that resonates deep within her.  They are not the usual words of the law.  They are not words she is used to hearing. They are words of comfort, encouragement, acceptance and forgiveness.  They are words of love.  Where did he learn such things? Her mind travels from the young man to his family.  She wonders who they are.  They must be very special people.  Jesus’ mother!  The woman’s heart freely associates.  What kind of wondrous woman, wife and mother must she be!  The woman can no longer contain the spontaneous overwhelming joy within her.  She sings out in praise, “Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts at which you nursed.”  And Jesus enthusiastically sings out loudly back to her, “Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”

Just as Mary could not contain the Spirit within her as she dashed off to share her good news with Elizabeth, so this unnamed woman could not contain the Spirit within her.  And the man Jesus could not contain his love for her.  Imagine his arms stretched wide in a loving and welcoming gesture of inclusion.  Jesus was not in any way denying his love and very intimate relationship with his Mother, but he was emphatically drawing the woman to himself.

The good news is God’s desire for me is deep within me and calls me to a deep and personal relationship.  My own unique expression of holiness sings the praises of God and releases the Spirit into the community.

How is the Spirit moving within me?  In what small quiet ways do I sing the praises of God?  What is my own unique expression of the holiness of God?


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