Sunday, September 07, 2014
Feast, Nativity Of The Blessed Virgin Mary
Monday 23rd Week in Ordinary Time
[Feast, Nativity Of The Blessed Virgin Mary]
Mi 5:1-4A or Rom 8: 28-30 / PS 13: 6AB, 6C / Mt 1: 1-16, 18-23 or 1:18-23
Reading: Mi 5:1-4A
But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, so small that you are hardly named among the clans of Judah, from you shall I raise the one who is to rule over Israel. For he comes forth from of old, from the ancient times. Yahweh, therefore, will abandon Israel until such time as she who is to give birth has given birth. Then the rest of his deported brothers will return to the people of Israel. He will stand and shepherd his flock with the strength of Yahweh, in the glorious Name of Yahweh, his God. They will live safely while he wins renown to the ends of the earth. He shall be peace.
Gospel: Matthew 1: 18-23
This is how Jesus Christ was born. Mary his mother had been given to Joseph in marriage but before they lived together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph, her husband, made plans to divorce her in all secrecy. He was an upright man, and in no way did he want to discredit her. While he was pondering over this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. She has conceived by the Holy Spirit, and now she will bear a son. You shall call him 'Jesus' for he will save his people from their sins." All this happened in order to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: The virgin will conceive and bear a son, and he will be called Emmanuel which means: God-with-us.
Those of us who can quickly count back will know that this celebration of the birth of our Lady is exactly nine months after the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on the 8th of December – two special events in the life of Mary, so deeply connected to her Son Jesus. In anticipation of the Incarnation of the Lord becoming human, God chose her, a simple lass from the small village of Nazareth. But it was not just a matter of selecting her from among many possibilities. God deemed it worthy to have her conceived without original sin. She was indeed blessed among all women. And yet, despite this most unique distinction, like every human being she still had to be born of parents named Joachim and Anna, who were of humble origin, unknown to the rest of the world. (In fact, it is only by tradition that we know them by those names!)
There are actually only three days of birth celebrated in the liturgical calendar: the one of Jesus, St. John the Baptist and Mary. This should signal the great importance of these persons in our history of salvation, each one taking a special part in it. What is remarkable is that despite their respective utmost dignity, each one of them underwent a human birth under ordinary circumstances, if not harsh conditions like being born in a manger. This must be the pattern of humility with which God wanted to initiate the clear beginning of salvation for humanity: to be great means to be lowly, the leader serves and is not to be served, the first shall be last.
As we rejoice at the birth of Mary, we find a far deeper joy that from her birth will follow the birth of Jesus. Her birth brings forth a hope for what is to come. In her birth can be seen her future mission of delivering to the world the bringer of salvation. How deeply profound then is her own nativity. St. Andrew of Crete puts it beautifully: "This is, in fact, the day on which the Creator of the world constructed His temple; today is the day on which, by a stupendous project, a creature becomes the preferred dwelling of the Creator."
If Jesus were to be truly Emmanuel, God-with-us, the God who is indeed one of us, He would have to take on human flesh, and become human in every sense of the word, except sin. The birth of Mary is a most crucial step towards this, for it is of her own flesh that Jesus was going to be formed into a human being.
Today, together with our Lady, we praise and thank the ever-loving God for bringing her to life, that she may bring forth the Life of the world.
We pray …
… for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the unborn
… for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary
… for families who are in need of healing
… for world peace and reconciliation
… for the birthday intentions of Fr. Rodney Hart, S.J.
… for the special intentions of Fr. Maximo Barbero, S.J. on his anniversary as a Jesuit
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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