In the Gospel of Luke, we encounter a fascinating passage that has sparked debate among Catholics and Protestants. It is the dialogue between a woman and Jesus, as recorded in Luke 11:27-28.
In this passage, a courageous woman in the crowd raises her voice and exclaims, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” How could we blame her? Mary, the mother of the Messiah, is indeed worthy of all blessing and praise!
However, some Protestants, perhaps confused, claim that Jesus denies the blessedness of Mary by focusing on those who hear the Word of God. Let’s delve into the original language to understand the true meaning of what our Lord Jesus meant:
The Greek word “menounge” in Luke 11:27-28 is used by Jesus as an emphatic expression to reinforce and contrast what the woman in the crowd said about the blessedness of His mother with what He Himself considers as true blessedness.
As we can see on the screen, in the Strong’s Concordance, it indicates the use of this word as “indeed,” “truly,” “really,” which are words that affirm what has been said. It’s as if Jesus were saying, “Certainly, Mary is blessed, but even more blessed are those who hear and obey the divine will.”
By using this word, Jesus wants to emphasize that while Mary is blessed as the mother of the Messiah, true blessedness lies in obedience to the Word of God, not so much in the mother-son relationship that Mary and Jesus share.
Therefore, my brothers and sisters, do not be mistaken. The Catholic commentator, Cornelius a Lapide in 1637, clarifies the truth for us. Jesus does not deny the blessedness of Mary; He confirms and exalts it! Mary was blessed to conceive the Savior, indeed, but her true blessedness lies in her unwavering faith and obedience to the divine will. Listening to and obeying the Word of God is a path of grace that leads us to true happiness.
And as if that were not enough, the commentary of George Leo Haydock in 1849 shows us that Jesus’ response not only confirms the blessedness of Mary but also gives hope to all of us. The woman in the crowd, though not chosen to be the mother of the Messiah, receives a message of comfort and encouragement. She may have felt a certain envy or desire to have been chosen to bear the Savior of the world, but Jesus shows her that anyone can attain divine grace by following His Word. How is that possible? Pay close attention! Jesus reveals to us that true grace and blessedness come from obeying His Word. Each one of us, regardless of our role or vocation in life, can attain divine grace through obedience to God.
And let us remember that in this obedience, we honor the divine commandments, as taught in Exodus 20:12. Let us not doubt the perfection and purity of Jesus. He never deviated from the Father’s will! To insinuate otherwise would be to distort His holiness. Our beloved Savior, the incarnate Son of God, was a perfect example of obedience and adherence to God the Father.
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, contrary to the Protestant perspective that suggests Jesus disregarded His Mother in Luke 11:27-28, we, Catholics, understand the glory and edification of this reflection! Mary, the blessed mother of Jesus, inspires us to be faithful and obedient disciples. In her humble “yes” to God, we find the path to grace and true blessedness. And Jesus, in His divine wisdom, instills hope in us by showing that His Word is the path to communion with Him.
So let us rejoice, for in the midst of this dialogue, we find a shining ray of hope! Mary, the blessed one, guides us with her faith and obedience. Jesus calls us to follow His Word to find divine joy. May this teaching fill us with fervor and love for our Mother Mary and our Lord Jesus Christ!
In a future article, we will analyze more passages that misinterpret Jesus’ treatment of His Mother, such as in Mark 3:31.
Commentaries Cornelius a Lapides