Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of Matthew (13: 1-9) in which Jesus tells the parable of the farmer who went out to sow his seed to the large crowds gathered around him by the lake. Afterwards, Fr Paul shares a little about St Joachim and St Anne, whose feast we celebrate today.

Fr Paul says ancient tradition, already known in the 2nd century, gives the names of Joachim and Anne to the parents of the Virgin Mary.

Although information about Mary’s parents is found in an early apocryphal writing that gives many miraculous and highly-coloured stories about the early life of the Virgin Mary, there is no reason to suppose that such a straightforward fact like the names of her parents would be wrong, since there is nothing to be gained from falsifying it.

Fr Paul says what we are celebrating today is the parents who brought up the Virgin Mary to be the woman she was. At the moment of consenting to the Incarnation she took the most important decision ever taken by a human being, and the fact that she took it is, to a great extent, the work of her parents. The Holy Spirit gave her the strength to take the decision; but her parents’ training and upbringing gave her the wisdom to choose.

On this day, Fr Paul invites us to pray, ‘Saints Joachim and Anne… pray for us!’