Monday, September 8, 2014

Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary - Today's Mass Readings, Monday, September 8, 2014

 Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The birthday of Mary is a great time to thank God for the gift she is to us as the Mother of God, the Mother of the Church, and our mother. Hopefully we are able to draw strength and inspiration from the holiness of her life. She was a very simple person, but this did not stop her from having the most significant role in the work of salvation. We should never rule out the possibility that God has an important plan for our lives as well.
Micah 5:1-4 (or Romans 8:28-30)
The Lord says: You, Bethlehem-Ephrathah, too small to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel; whose origin is from of old, from ancient times. (Therefore the Lord will give them up, until the time when she who is to give birth has borne, and the rest of his brethren shall return to the children of Israel.) He shall stand firm and shepherd his flock by the strength of the Lord, inthe majestic name of the Lord, his God; and they shall remain, for now his greatness shall reach to the ends of the earth; he shall be peace.
Psalm 13:6, 6
R: With delight I rejoice in the Lord.
5 [6] Though I trusted in your mercy. Let my heart rejoice in your salvation. (R) Let me sing of the Lord, “He has been good to me.” (R)
We do not have any writings concerning the birth of Mary but we do have the birth of Jesus in the Gospels. It is important to note the role of the Holy Spirit, which gives us an indication that we can expect the Spirit to be at work in our lives every time we respond to God’s will for us. Hopefully we can remember this as it is helpful to know the Spirit is around, especially when following God’s will becomes difficult.
Blessed are you, holy Virgin Mary, deserving of all praise; from you rose the sun of justice, Christ our God.
Matthew 1:1-16, 18-23
The Book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham became the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers. 3Judah became the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar. Perez became the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram, Ram the father of Amminadab. Amminadab became the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon, Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab. Boaz became the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth. Obed became the father of Jesse, 6Jesse the father of David the king. David became the father of Solomon, whose mother had been the wife of Uriah. 7Solomon became the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asaph. 8Asaph became the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, Joram the father of Uzziah. 9Uzziah became the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, Ahaz the father of Hezekiah. 10 Hezekiah became the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amos, Amos the father of Josiah. 11 Josiah became the father of Jechoniah and his brothers at the time of the Babylonian exile. 12 After the Babylonian exile, Jechoniah became the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, 13 Zerubbabel the father of Abiud. Abiud became the father of Eliakim, Eliakim the father of Azor, 14 Azor the father of Zadok. Zadok became the father of Achim, Achim the father of Eliud, 15 Eliud the father of Eleazar. Eleazar became the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob, 16 Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ. 18 Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. 19Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. 20 Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. 21 She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means “God is with us.”


                    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, 
                   MOTHER MARY!

Nobody knows when and where the Virgin Mary was born. No birth certificates were issued in her time. Was she born in Nazareth or in nearby Sepphoris, where a church honors her parents Joachim and Anne who are said to have lived there? We don’t know.

       September 8 was chosen because in the fifth century, a church in Jerusalem was dedicated on this day, which was said to have been built above the place where Mary was born. Nazareth, Sepphoris, Jerusalem? Nobody knows. And we don’t need to know.
       The Church presents us today with the genealogy of Jesus. Matthew mentions four women in this genealogy: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and Bathsheba. Tamar disguised herself as a temple prostitute to have intercourse with her father-in-law and produced a son. Rahab was a prostitute in Jericho, Ruth was a Moabite, an archenemy of the Israelites, and Bathsheba committed adultery with King David. In these four sinful women, the curse of Eve’s sin becomes visible. Sin begets sin, an endless, ever escalating curse. And then Matthew mentions a fifth woman: Mary. With her, the ancient curse of sin is finally broken and transformed into a chain of blessings. With her sinlessness and obedience to God’s plans, salvation dawns. The Second Vatican Council states that Mary “is inseparably linked with her Son’s saving work.”
       Every human birth is a call for joy and new hope. Loving parents have shown hope in a world filled with sorrow, suffering, wars and hopelessness. The newborn child has the potential to become a channel of God’s love in this often dark world. This was especially true when Mary was born. She foreshadows God’s love for mankind that was manifested in her Son Jesus.
       On this joyful day, let us try to bring some joy and hope into our world by making somebody happy — somebody who suffers or is lonely, who is weighed down by failure and rejection. Yes, bring “joy to the world” as Mary’s birth did. Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD
REFLECTION QUESTIONS: Who is Mary for you? Do you have just a sentimental attitude towards her, or do you try to imitate her humility and faith?
Lord, thank You for giving us Your Mother Mary as our Mother, too. May she become more and more my inspiration and model.

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