Saying The Right Thing Is Not Enough

I’m not going to lie, which is good considering I’m writing a reflection on the word of God! I had to look up these verses in the Sacra Pagina commentary. These verses have long perplexed me. Why doesn’t Jesus want the woman to compliment his mother? Jesus loves his mother. As always, there is another layer to his response, “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.” (Luke 11:28) Some translations say “keep” rather than “observe” which I prefer as it is more direct and clearer.

It is about what we do. Liking Jesus, thinking he’s a good person, serving him when it is convenient – not enough. Our response, in our day to day living out of his word is what we are to be about in this life. As Christians, we follow Christ. Following though, is not as easy as it sounds, but you know this. The world we live in could be the world Joel prophesied to in the First Reading. “The heavens and the earth quake, but the LORD is a refuge to his people, a stronghold to the children of Israel.” (Joel 4:16b) The world is shaking, down to its core and there will be judgment. But God is our refuge and Jesus leads us to the Father as the Word made flesh. 

We hear the word of God and when we live it out with humility and kindness, fear and trembling, we know the LORD is our refuge. The world calls us to take refuge in it, not God. When I pray about taking refuge, I am often convicted that I try to find meaning in social media or mindless entertainment. Are these pastimes sinful? Maybe. Each of us must answer that for ourselves with the help of the Word we read and desire to observe. 

In the end, and yes, I mean the end end, we will be judged. My desire is to be found blessed that I heard and observed the word of God. That is what Jesus calls us to, not compliments. 

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Deanna G. Bartalini, is a Catholic writer, speaker, educator and retreat leader. She is the founder of the community, a place to inform, engage and inspire your Catholic faith through interactive Bible studies, courses and book clubs. Her weekly podcast,, gives you tips and tools to live out your faith. At  she writes about whatever is on her mind at the moment.

Feature Image Credit: Aaron Burden,