HILE 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.”
REFLECTION BLESSED IS THE WOMB THAT CARRIED YOU.
Sometimes, when we are truly impressed by a person for some reason (by his words or deeds, usually), we cannot help imagine how the person’s relatives and loved ones also share in his “blessedness.” This is what the woman in the Gospel does, pronouncing great blessing on the one who bore and nourished Jesus – his Mother. But Jesus takes this occasion to teach what or where true blessedness lies: It is in hearing the word of God and keeping it.
While this may sound like a rebuff, it is Jesus’ greatest praise of his mother Mary who is described especially in Luke as one who hears the word of God and keeps it. Thus, Mary’s blessedness lies not so much because she physically bore him and nourished him, but more so because she is a listening, obedient Mother. As St. Augustine puts it, “Mary, full of grace, first conceived Jesus in her heart before she conceived him in her womb.”
“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word… Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled” (Lk 1:38, 45).