27* As he said this, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that you sucked!” 28* But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”
I had a protestant use this against us honoring Mary. How can we respond? Is Jesus telling us to not pay attention to Mary but to God’s word alone?
ah thanks for pointing that out. I fear though that she will say that what Jesus said shows that Mary believed and kept the word of God, and then she might try to say that we shouldn’t focus on Mary but do the same. How else can we show that he wasn’t trying to say that we can’t honor or venerate the blessed mother?
It is a compliment to Mary. No one heard and obeyed the word of God better than Mary.
Jews thought that their genealogy or the fact that they were descendants of Abraham was what made them blessed.
*As he said this, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that you sucked!” (Luke 11:27)
Luke uses the word blessed twenty seven times in his Gospel. The word blessed was not used the way we use it today but it meant a singular status conveyed on no one else, above all others. The Jews thought that they were “Blessed” above all other people because of who bore them, because of their their hereditary status as Jews, because they were children of Abraham. Jesus corrects this misunderstanding.
Jesus tells the crowd that it is not your hereditary status that makes you blessed above all others but that those who hear God’s word and do it are the ones who are blessed above all others. These are his brothers and mother, and no one in the history of all creation heard God’s word and obeyed it better than Jesus’ mother Mary.
But Mary* is* honored by Jesus in His statement because His mother is truly blessed then for hearing God’s word and keeping it. No Catholic is worshiping Mary, but Jesus Himself honors her by saying this very sentence! We are to do what Jesus does! He is honoring her faithfulness to God.
I think Jesus is saying its not so much her motherhood itself that honors her than it is the fact that she has done everything God asked her to do. (That would make her holy) IF a non-Catholic would want to argue that Mary is not perfect or holy, then ask why the Angel of God Gabriel greeted her with “Hail, FULL of grace”… ? That wasn’t just a friendly form of flattery, as God is not into that sort of thing, but it is a statement. If you are full of something, you are not lacking at all, no space left for anything else but what you are full of.
Maybe from the standpoint of the woman who cried out “blessed is the womb…” ect, she thinks that life would be fine and dandy having a son like Him, (like from an earthy worldly standpoint) whereas in fact, being blessed by God does not mean for an easy life, as we know Our Lady is a lady of sorrows as well. Remember, this crowd is excited to be with Jesus at this time. How was this lady thinking when she saw or heard about His crucifixion?
The woman basically is saying that Jesus’ mum is so lucky to have Him, because she will be honored by all peoples to have such a great son, but God is saying, no, it is that we should strive to to be honored by GOD for following His word and loving Him, not being loved by the people. Honoring God by doing His word is some** heavy **stuff to bear. Read about the prophets!
You may point out that when Our Lord said that he was in the midst of His earthly ministry and so was Our Lady.
You are probably going to have difficulty convincing the “protestant” that St. Mary can help us now that she died and went to heaven. Even among faithful catholics some have difficulty with deep devotion to Our Lady. After all, devotion to Our Lady is based on pontifical pronouncements like The Immaculate Conception and private revelation which by Our Lady’s own words requires a docile soul to appreciate.
Ask your protestant friend what were Mary’s word to the Angel Gabriel, in the same Gospel of Luke.
Your friend, if he is truly the scriptural expert he thinks he is will reply, “Be it done unto me according to your word”.
Then ask your friend, “Was that word of Gabriel from God or from men?”
Your friend will say, “From God” (or else will have to explain where Angels come from if not from God).
Then, ask your friend, “Did Mary go through with the word from Gabriel? Did she have the baby and raise him to be the one we know as Jesus, the Messiah, who would save us from our sins?”
He will have to answer in the affirmative.
Finally, you say, “Did Mary, then, ‘Hear the Word of God, and Keep it’?”
So you ask, “Is she then Blessed, in the way Jesus said, or blessed in the way the woman said to Jesus?”
Do you think your friend will admit to this and say Mary is Blessed? If not, he is like the Pharisees and Sadducees, literally.