Homily July 26th, 2023

Memorial of Saints Joachim and Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary – July 26th

            Today we celebrate the memory of Saints Joachim and Anne, the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and hence grandparents of Jesus. That house must have been perpetually shrouded in an aura of majesty because of the great mystery that was taking place.

            An early Christian writer called marriage “the creator of images of God,”[1] and Pope Saint John Paul the Second explained that when a new person is born, “he brings with him into the world a particular image and likeness of God Himself. . . .  In this, parents cooperate with God the Creator. . . .  Begetting [a child] is the continuation of Creation.”[2] The mystery here, then, is that from the sinful humanity of Joachim and Anne comes “our tainted nature’s solitary boast,” the Virgin Mary, and from her, the Savior, which “fashion[ed] for us a remedy out of mortality itself.”[3] In living out their marriage and cooperating with God, Joachim and Anne “created the image of God” in Mary, who would give birth to the One who is God Himself and “the image of the invisible God” (Col 1:15). By continuing the work of creation, Joachim and Anne gave life to the Virgin who would bear the One through whom and for whom all things were created (Cf. Col 1:16).

            In our own lives, this celebration should give rise to two attitudes: gratitude and trust. Recalling Saints Joachim and Anne should fill us with gratitude, not only towards God our Creator, but also, and more specifically, towards our own parents and grandparents, who were the “creators of God’s image” in us. “Every call of Christ is a story of unique and unrepeatable love,”[4] wrote John Paul II, and that is true not only of our vocations, but also of that very first call into being. That call became a reality through our parents, and through our grandparents, and so on back generation after generation. We are, then, the sum of “the Father’s love for us,”[5] a love made concrete and real through hundreds of generations of cooperators in God’s work of creation. This is no small thing.

            Secondly, recalling Saints Joachim and Anne should fill us with trust in God’s plans and providence. God knows how to transform this broken, sinful world into holiness. In the Second Book of Samuel, when David commits adultery and murder, on the surface, all we see are David’s bad actions: he doesn’t go to war like he should, he can’t keep his eyes under control, he goes out of his way the find out who the woman is, he commits adultery, and then goes to great lengths to cover up his affair and ultimately to murder her husband. The Second Book of Samuel takes 52 verses to describe the whole affair, from start to finish. Yet, as terrible as these things are, even all of David’s failings play into God’s plan. In Matthew 1:6, in just half the verse, as the evangelist traces out Jesus’ lineage, we hear quite simply, “David became the father of Solomon, whose mother had been the wife of Uriah.” The fruits of 52 verses of sin, and more sin, repentance, and punishment, are summarized in half a verse. The wife of Uriah shouldn’t be in the lineup of ancestors for the Savior, but she is, because God knows and sees and disposes all things. Even if our own families are a far cry from the Holy Family, or even from that of Joachim and Anne, nonetheless God is at work, and we must be grateful and trust in God’s providence.

Today, let us pray through the intercession of Mary, Queen of the Family, and Saints Joachim and Anne, for the grace to be grateful to God for our families, and to trust in His providence and His love for us.


[1] The Bishop Amphilochius, cited by Saint John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae, 43.

[2] Saint John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, 43.

[3] Preface for Sundays in Ordinary Time, III.

[4] “Mensaje para la Jornada mundial de oración por las vocaciones,” L’Osservatore Romano 19 (1984) 306.

[5] Saint John Paul II, Homily for the 17th WYD Mass, in Toronto.

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