"The widow, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood" (Luke 21:4).
While we have a paternal genealogy for Jesus going back to Abraham, there is nothing in the New Testament about the actual genetics of the human Jesus from Mary, his mother. Today's commemoration of the presentation of Mary in the temple presupposes her parents, identified as Joachim and Anne by a later popular tradition. It adds something to our appreciation of the Incarnation to know that Jesus had a grandpa and a grandma.
Mary, the gospels suggest, was widowed before the public ministry of Jesus, and her dependence on him as her only son was significant in a culture where widows and orphans had no influence. This may be why the Lectionary gives us a short gospel about a widow donating her last pennies to the temple treasury. Jesus praises her for her generosity compared with the rich donors, who only gave from their surplus and for public praise.
Mary's journey to holiness does not end with the birth or parenting of Jesus, but continues into her life as a widow and as a mother who loses her only child to unspeakable violence. Jesus may have had his own mother in mind when he praised the poor widow in the temple. Mary gave God everything she had. She watched as Jesus hung on the cross before her eyes. She experienced the worst poverty a parent can know.
Each one of us was blessed to be dedicated to God at our own baptisms. Our parents and our grandparents formed us in faith to live as children of God and followers of Jesus. May Joachim and Anne, Mary and Joseph, inspire us to to empty ourselves as they did to complete the mystery of God's will in our lives.