Commentary on the Gospel of

Colleen Chiacchere-Creighton University's Magis Teacher Corp

While he was speaking, a woman from the crowd called out and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts at which you nursed.” He replied, “Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”

—Luke 11:27-28

Reflecting on this Gospel passage certainly calls to mind examples own mother, my grandmothers, our blessed mother Mary, and motherly figures in my life…. Mothers who not only gave birth and nourishment, but also modeled faith, closeness to Jesus and an intentional way of faith-filled living in this world. Mothers certainly carry much responsibility in shaping us and nourishing our growth and development, as the woman calls out, in the Gospel passage today. But, additionally, it seems that Jesus is highlighting and clarifying important guidance for us – those who model their lives on Jesus, and know him intimately, are blessed. Mothers, and all of us, are called to go a step further to align our actions and motives with the Jesus, in all that we do. We are invited to let God’s love transform us, so that we respond to all of God’s creation, those around us, in love.

In addition to reflecting on the mother figures in my life, I also reflect on my own role as mother to my three children. My youngest son turns one year old this week. The references to carrying an infant in my womb and breastfeeding are very recent and resonant for me, especially as I work from home, near him, during these days of the pandemic. It is a privilege, an absolute joy and an enormous challenge to raise him. 

I wonder….What will others say about my children as they grow up? What will my children say about me when they are older? Will they be grateful that I spent time and effort in generously and intentionally trying to raise them well? Will they be grateful for nourishing them, as they grow – physically, spiritually, emotionally? As I reflect on this passage, my hope becomes more clear: that my children will be grateful for me not only because I gave birth, nursed them and guided their growth, but because I modeled how to hear God’s word and model my life on it. I hope my children would say that I helped show them how to be attentive and receptive to God’s voice. That is a tall order and a great hope.

I imagine that Jesus is maybe getting at something similar. He recognizes how holy his mother is for giving birth to him and to nourishing him, but especially for modeling attentiveness and receptivity to God’s will.

This short gospel passage allows Jesus to expand on his invitation for all of us to be close to him, to be transformed by knowing him and to model God’s love in all aspects of our lives. No doubt, this will help transform our world, working at eliminating discrimination, racism, all forms of injustice, in order to help bring about the Kingdom of God here on earth.

Who are the motherly figures, or other persons of faith, that have modeled these characteristics for you, in your life? May we be blessed, by their example, and especially by our own receptivity to God’s word.


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