As Jesus was speaking, a woman spoke from the crowd and said to him, “Blessed is the one who gave you birth and nursed you!” Jesus replied, “Truly blessed are those who hear the word of God, and keep it as well.”
At first glance, Jesus seemed to deflect the praise given to His mother and re-channel it instead to those who hear God’s word and keep it. But a deeper reading of His words will tell us that He is elevating the virtues of Mary, not because she was His biological mother but because she accepted the Word of God without hesitation and allowed herself to be God’s vessel in the incarnation of His Son. It is true that Mary’s blessedness will always be connected to Jesus. That is why the woman in the crowd praised her because she had an extraordinary Son. But the Son would not have been Man if not for Mary’s docility to God’s word. That is why the Son praised his mother because of her extraordinary reception of, and obedience to, the word of God.
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