|Being faithful isn’t about the grand gestures or the extraordinary. It is really about the smallest everyday moments in life. Getting children to day care. Making sure an older parent gets to the doctor. Not getting annoyed at a tiresome co-worker. Making a meal with love. Doing laundry again.
Our lives are not something that will happen to us, but a collection of the moments we live each day. Being intentional about each of those moments is what it means to be faithful.
I think of today’s Memorial to Joachim and Anne, the parents of Mary. Their lives were not big or dramatic, yet they shaped Mary with their constant faithfulness to God in everyday life. Joachim and Anne, like most of the population, were peasants, yet carried a heavy burden of taxes to the brutal Roman empire and to Herod the Great. But they would have taught Mary how to gather firewood each day, wash clothes and dishes and take the jars to the well to be refilled. Again.
Yet in that hard life, Anne and Joachim were faithful. They prayed and went to the synagogue together where they would have listened to the scripture. And they taught Mary what it means to be faithful. To say Yes to a life of lugging water, gathering firewood and washing clothes. There was no glamour about it, but she learned that God was always with her. She learned to rely on God’s support. She was prepared to say Yes.
In today’s gospel, Jesus uses an image every peasant would have understood: the seed has to fall on rich soil in order to thrive. There are thorns, rocky grounds and many distractions in our lives. But being faithful every day is not something glamorous. It is simply the daily living of our relationships with God, our families and those around us.
Sometimes we wait for our “Real” life to start. For the big break to come, the family pain to end or the fun lives we see in the media to come to us. We don’t always see that we are in our Real lives now, standing ankle deep in the rich soil. Our small and loving care for others, our tending to those in pain in our lives and authentic service in our daily life – that is the faithfulness that Joachim and Anne taught Mary. That is what she and Joseph taught Jesus.
And that is what Jesus teaches us.