Sunday: Feast of Saint Anne and Saint Joachim Date: July 26, 2016 Year: C The readings: [Sir. 44:1, 8, 10-5; Mt. 13:16-7] The message: Their names live on forever. Prepared by: Catholic Doors Ministry Total words: 702
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Welcome my brothers and sisters in Jesus to today's celebration of the Holy Mass. It is providential how the readings that we just heard from the Holy Scr1iptures harmonize with today's feast of Saints Anne and Joachim. Before reviewing the readings, I would like to feed you with background information about these two great Saints of the Holy Catholic Church.
Based on very old documents such as apocryphal literature and Church Tradition, it is believed that Saints Anne and Joachim were the mother and father of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
According to Tradition the grandparents of Jesus first lived in Galilee. After some time, they settled into Jerusalem where the Blessed Virgin was born and raised. It is also believed that Saints Anne and Joachim died and were buried in Jerusalem.
During the fourth century, a Church was build on the site where it was believed that the house of Saints Anne and Joachim was located. There, their tombs were honoured until the end of the ninth century. At that time, the Church was converted into a Moslem school. It was not until March 18, 1889 when the crypt that formerly contained the holy tombs was rediscovered.
History tells us that the relics of St. Anne were brought from the Holy Land to Constantinople in 710. As of 1333, her relics were still known to be present in the Church of St. Sophia.
Over and above being the patroness of women in labour, Saint Anne is also the patron of the Province of Quebec in Canada. In that Eastern Province is the beautiful Shrine of St. Anne de Beaupre that is located 26 miles East of Quebec City along the St. Lawrence River. Well known for its history of three hundreds and fifty years of endless physical and spiritual miracles that have been granted by the grace of God through the intercession of this great Saint, every year, Saint Anne de Beaupre draws thousands and thousands of pilgrims from every part of the world.
During today's Reading from the Gospel of Matthew, while teaching to His disciples in the Spirit of Truth, Jesus said, 'Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. Truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.' [Mt. 13:16-7] Generation after generation in the days of the Old Testament, God's people had waited for the coming of the promised Messiah so they may be in the presence of God incarnated into human flesh and bones.
Although not mentioned in the Holy Scriptures, there is no reason to doubt that Saints Anne and Joachim must have enjoyed the blessed honour of being in the Divine Presence of the Lord Jesus sometime after His birth. In words similar to the Magnificat of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the soul of Saint Anne must have magnified the Lord, her spirit rejoicing in God her Saviour. [Lk. 1:46-7]
Echoing the words from the Gospel of Luke, surely, since the days of the birth of Jesus, all generations must have called Saints Anne and Joachim blessed. [Lk. 1:48] For the manifestation of the grace of God through centuries of miracles speaks for itself.
As today's First Reading from the Book of Sirach states, "Some of them have left behind a name, so that others declare their praise. These were godly people, whose righteous deeds have not been forgotten; their wealth will remain with their descendants, and their inheritance with their children's children."
As the blessed Virgin Mary is our spiritual mother, Saints Anne and Joachim, as the grandparents of Jesus and the parents of Mary who is the new Eve, they are our spiritual grandparents.
And as we heard earlier, their offspring will continue forever, and their glory will never be blotted out. While their bodies physical were buried centuries ago, their names live on generation after generation. The assembly declares their wisdom, and the congregation proclaims their praise. Praise God for the wonders that He has manifested through Saints Anne and Joachim.
"Let us now sing the praises of our ancestors in their generations. Some of them have left behind a name, so that others declare their praise. These were godly people, whose righteous deeds have not been forgotten; their wealth will remain with their descendants, and their inheritance with their children's children.
Their descendants stand by the covenants; their children also, for their sake. Their offspring will continue forever, and their glory will never be blotted out. Their bodies are buried in peace, but their name lives on generation after generation. The assembly declares their wisdom, and the congregation proclaims their praise." [Sir. 44:1, 8, 10-5]
"Jesus said to his disciples: 'Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. Truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.'" [Mt. 13:16-7]