26 July: Mar Joachim and Marth Anna

Qeryana I (Old Testament Reading I): 1 Samuel 2:1-18
Qeryana II (Old Testament Reading II): Isaiah 54:1-8
Engarta (Epistle Reading): Hebrews 11:8-12
Evangalion (Gospel): Matthew 1:1-16  

On this day, we celebrate the feast of Saints Joachim and Anna, the parents of Blessed Virgin Mary. According to tradition they were responsible parents who faithfully carried out their duties, and practiced their faith as a devout couple. Both of them were born in the tribe of David. Their feasts were celebrated in the oriental church from the earliest centuries. Tradition says that Mary was born to them at their old age in a miraculous way.


The apocryphal gospel of St James speaks about the birth of Mary in detail. According to it Joachim was a wealthy and God fearing man, noble by birth and just in character. He did not have children and it gave him great sorrow and shame. He learned that in the tribe of Israel all the just men had children. So one day, even without giving a word to his wife Anna, he went to desert and made a tent there and fasted for forty days and nights. He said to himself that till God visits him he will not eat or drink and his food and drink will be prayers and supplications.


Meanwhile, his wife was spending days and nights in tears and prayers as she did not have children and now left behind by her own husband. Then the angel of the Lord God appeared to Anna and said: Anna, Anna, the Lord God has seen your tears and heard your prayers. You will conceive and give birth to a girl child and the child will be known to the whole world. Anna said: If I conceive and give birth to a child, let it be a male or female, I will dedicate it before the Lord as an offering for him. The angel also appeared to Joachim in the desert and conveyed the message of his wife’s conception to him. He returned home joyfully and offered 10 lambs to the Lord God and 100 lambs to the whole people as a thanksgiving offering. After nine moths Anna gave birth to a child and they gave her the name Mary. As she had promised Anna presented her child Mary in the Temple at the age of three.


The history of Joachim and Anna teaches us that the prayers and supplications will be answered; the tears and offerings will be counted. It exhorts us to remain just in the eyes of the Lord and knock at the door of his mercy and grace incessantly. To talk with God, no breath is lost, talk on. To walk with God, no strength is lost, walk on. To wait on God no time is lost, wait on (R. B. Zuck).



Fr. Sebastian Mullooparambil, CMI

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