Published on July 23, 2019

Today is the memorial for saints Joachim and Anne, who were the parents of the blessed Virgin Mary. We couldn’t have any better role model for modern parents than Saint Joachim and Saint Anne, simply because of the holy lives they lived and how they raised the mother of God. However, there is no mention of them in the bible. Not one word is written about them. Their lives may have seemed like nothing spectacular and they went largely unnoticed by the people of their time and it is only in hindsight that the Catholic church recognized them as saints. Their sanctity went quietly unnoticed. Most parents work hard to take care of their children, to love them and raise them the best that they can, and their efforts go largely unnoticed too. Hardly no one tells them what a good job they are doing with their children. It is a rare thing for a parent to be told that they are doing a good job at parenting their children. And parents usually do not feel like they are doing a good job, especially if their child is not the best behaved child in class or has straight A report cards. It’s worth noting that the bible doesn’t mention if Mary was educated or not. She was surely taught a lot by Saint Anne and her father Saint Joachim, but there is no mention of whether or not Mary even had an education. We do know she had faith in God though. That’s what is important. Parents are concerned about so many things with their children. They want them to make good grades, get scholarships for college, get a degree and then a well paying job. They want their children to excel in sports or music or in other talents they have. But, what about their faith in God? Saints Joachim and Anne was mostly concerned with Mary’s faith in God.

There are some very good guidelines on how to ground our marriages and families in our faith in God, through today’s scriptures for mass. We’ve heard about the ten commandments all of our lives, but if we take a good hard look at them today, how many of them do we honestly keep? What about the society that we live in? Realistically, we do not obey the ten commandments very well as individuals and as a people. How many of the commandments have we broken? Are there times in our lives that we’ve missed mass on Sunday? Said God’s name in vain? Worked on a job or at home, or caused others to work on a Sunday? Neglected to spend time with our parents? Supported abortion or the death penalty by how we vote? Taken something that wasn’t ours or told a lie to someone? Are we jealous of the material success of others?

Do we make an effort to correct ourselves after breaking one of these commandments? If so, we are setting a good example for our children. That is what confession is for and it really does help for children to see parents who admit when they were wrong and correct their own behavior too. That is true for parents of adult children too. We never quit being a parent, even after our children are grown.

Today’s readings for mass end with the gospel reading about the parable of the sower and the seed. If parents lovingly raise their children to have faith in God, then their roots have sunk deeply into the good soil. As teenagers and young adults, the scorching heat and drought may come along and try their faith, but the roots are still there. Parents who have grown children that have stopped going to mass should realize that their children’s roots are still in good soil, submerged beneath the surface, and not give up hope in them. Our modern world has so much fools gold that attracts young people, but they eventually figure out that it isn’t lasting and their parents were right after all. Faith in God and love for our family and friends are the true gold that lasts.