Not far from the tree


Ss. Joachim and Anne, Parents
Sirach 44:1, 10-15; Matthew 13:16-17

Not Far from the Tree

There's an old saying that “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”  In other words, the character and behavior of a child are reflections of the values and lessons that their parents handed on to them. While there are exceptions, the rule still holds. 

I thought of that saying when I reflected on the almost unknown lives of Joachim and Anne, the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints whom we honor today. What little we know of them is based on a book called the Protoevangelium of James, a gospel that was never included in the canon of Scripture. According to the story, Joachim and Anne were a righteous but childless couple who, after prayers and a visit by an angel, received the grace of having a child.

That child, a daughter, grew up accompanied by God and “full of grace.” Though initially troubled, she welcomed the message of the archangel Gabriel. More importantly, she surrendered to God’s will and allowed the Holy Spirit to come upon her in a way unique in all of history. As the author of the Book of Sirach suggested, her godliness was a reflection of her parents’ and she stands as a testament to the richness of God’s grace working in them. 

Parenting has never been easy, and today it is as challenging as ever. From the pressures of workplaces that demand more and more of their time to the distracting sirens of social media that can impede or complicate relationships as easily as they strengthen them, staying connected to one's children demands a real commitment. 

Through the intercession of Ss. Joachim and Anne, Lord, guide and protect all parents.  Help them to cultivate well the seeds of goodness and holiness that you have already planted.—JC