In the Gospel today, a woman raised her voice to Jesus and said Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you. Jesus replied: Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it. Some have said this is proof that we should not honor Mary because Jesus himself did not honor her. For one, to say that Jesus did not honor Mary is ignorant. Jesus, God himself, who gave the commandment to Honor your father and your mother would surely do what he commands. Second is Jesus was a devout Jew. So he would have obeyed that command and honor his mother.
With his response, Jesus is saying Mary is blessed not because she bore Jesus and nursed him, but she is blessed because she heard the Word of God and obeyed it. Mary became the Mother of God, not because of her own merit, but because God choose her and planned her to be so, and she believed. Her faith was made visible in her obedience to God.
This is what St Paul means in the First Reading, before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. Therefore, the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. The law and commandments show what a righteous life is. They are guides as to what is acceptable and not. But when we have faith, we will obey Jesus and his commands always exceed what the Law requires. This is why those who have faith are not bound by the law because their faith or the actions from their faith exceed the demands of the Law.
For example, the Church requires we go to mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation. This law shows to live a holy life, we need to keep the Lord’s day holy by going to mass on days that we should go. For someone who goes to mass every day, that law does not mean anything. He is not bound by that law because this person exceeds the requirement of the Law. Faith then makes us go beyond the demands of the Law because Jesus perfects the Law. When we follow Jesus, the Law has no hold of us.
Which is why Jesus said Mary is blessed not because she is his Mother, but because she heard God’s Word and obeyed it. We too will be blessed when we hear God’s word and obey it.
Lord Jesus, give me an open heart and ear, that I may hear your Word and obey it. Blessed Mother, teach me to hear your Son and do what he wills.