Grandparents of Jesus – Feast Day August 26
|When the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, she was praying. Anne had kept her word to the Lord; she never forgot the promise she had made. She had consecrated this child to the Temple because of His generous miraculous gift to her; she had filled this child of her golden age with the traditions and hopes of her people, the coming of the Messiah. So although it was Mary who said yes to the Angel, it was her Mother Anne’s teaching and grooming which prepared Mary to receive this messenger from God and say yes!Grandparents are the story tellers! As Grandma Anne related to her grandchild Jesus the stories of their people, the Jews, did her heart tremble as she realized that this young shoot of Jesse’s tree would someday die for the salvation of the world? Did Simeon’s words: He will be responsible for the rise and fall of many, trouble her as she saw Him growing into manhood? Could she foresee His climb up the infamous steps that became holy because He walked upon them? Or had God in His infinite mercy spared her from this piercing wound, the crucifixion of her most precious grandchild?
How did Anne feel when Mary unfolded the happenings in Bethlehem, the shepherds who had followed the star to where the Angels told them the King of the world was to be born? What were Anne’s thoughts as Mary excitedly told her of the Magi and their reverence, and what were Anne’s misgivings when she saw Myrrh, the ointment of death, as one of the gifts? Or was she enjoying the gift of being grandparents too much, and chose to shut all fear out of her heart, at least for this priceless moment?
Jesus performed His first miracle through the intercession of His Mother Mary, at Cana. She had intervened on behalf of a newly married couple; to some a small matter, but to Mary it was important to them and so it was important to her and her Son. When Jesus spoke to Mary, telling her it was not His time, Mary cared so very much for her children she encouraged him to perform this miracle which pivoted Him to the Cross.
When Jesus said yes, He showed His love and deep regard for His Mother; when His Mother said yes, over and over again, she showed her love for the children He would give her, in the biggest and the smallest moments of their lives.
Jesus loved His Mother; it only stands to reason that Jesus, perfect Son, was also perfect Grandson and being Love itself loved His Grandmother. As Love never dies, that Love did not die, and you can see it in the faith of these 100s of thousands of pilgrims who come to seek the intercession of St. Anne, Grandma, knowing He listens and cares.
A little background on Joachim and Anne. We know that he was privileged to offer sacrifice in the Temple, and that he was a generous giver to the Temple and to the poor. We also know that Joachim and Anne are related to Elizabeth and Zechariah, and it is believed that their son John the Baptist and his parents were Essenes, a tribe that left Jerusalem to settle out in the desert, away from the distractions of that bustling city. The Essenes were responsible for the scrolls containing the book of Isaiah that were found in Qumran, in the Holy Land. So, it is obvious that when God has a plan, He puts all his knights in place and great Chess Player that He is sets out to win, in His case – souls! Joachim and Anne knew their Faith, loved their God and looked forward to the fulfillment of His Promise of a Savior. As Jesus was sent to a spotless virgin, conceived immaculately; so it stands to reason, His Mother would be sent to extraordinary parents who would care for her, protect and guide her.
Humble and gentle Saints, so like St. Joseph – Jesus’ foster father, Joachim and Anne Jesus’ grandparents are in the background, as they would desire. But we all know, especially as we begin to mature, that we are a sum of all our ancestors who came before us.