September 8, 2008
Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Feast
Matthew 1: 1-16.18-23
An account of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Aram, and Aram the father of Aminadab, and Aminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse,and Jesse the father of King David. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon. and after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Salathiel, and Salathiel the father of Zerubbabel, and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah. 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. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. 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. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel," which means "God is with us."
Introductory Prayer: Lord, thank for the gift of your mother. Help me to look at her example and to try to imitate her virtues. As I begin my meditation, I think of her example of prayer, how she meditated on things in her heart and dedicated herself to your mission. Be with me and guide me. I want to love you with all my heart, all my strength, and all my mind.
Petition: Lord, help me to increase in my love for Mary and for her son.
1. We Rejoice at the Birth of Mary
Today we celebrate the birthday of Mary. With her came the dawn of salvation. Mary’s immaculate conception meant that Christ’s saving grace was already making its way into the world in anticipation of his sacrifice on Calvary and in preparation for his mission as the Redeemer of mankind. Picture the world before this: a world darkened by sin, lost and confused, with the way to heaven and eternal life closed. Every child before Mary was born in original sin with no way of being freed from it. With Mary’s birth, the light of salvation had begun to shine like the dawn breaking at the rising of the sun. Imagine the joy in heaven and the marvel of the angels who contemplated what God was doing in her soul. She is all beautiful, and there is in her no stain of original sin. Her birthday meant that the world was now only one short step from receiving its Savior. There was joy. There is hope.
Hail, Queen of heaven, beyond compare,
to whom the angels homage pay;
hail, root of Jesse, gate of light,
that opened for the world’s new day.
2. He Will Save Us from Our Sins
In the Gospel passage the angel tells Joseph that the baby’s name is Jesus. This name discloses his role as savior of the world. He will save his people from their sins. This is the good news of our faith, and we need to meditate on this in a deeply personal way. Sometimes it happens that we become a bit discouraged in our spiritual life: We seem to make little progress. We confess the same sins and fall into the same faults. We can get worn down in our battle with sin and the battles of life. This is when we need to turn to Jesus and invoke his name with devotion. He is our Savior, and he saves us from sin. Our time of prayer fosters intimacy and hope. The savior of the world is our Redeemer. He is our Lord and our God. It is not a question of our weakness but his power.
3. He Is with Us
The other name given to Mary’s child is Emmanuel, “God is with us.” The same God who saves us from sin is with us. He is with us in our struggles, in our trials and in the difficulties of our daily life. This is the fruit of his great love for us. He does not leave us orphans. He promises to be with us always. There are times when we may feel alone and isolated, but we are not alone. The reality is that he is with us, and he has given us his mother to be with us as well. Like Joseph, we can’t be afraid to bring Mary into our homes, and with her, this child, who is Savior and God.
Rejoice, O Virgin unsurpassed,
in whom our ransom was begun,
for all your loving children pray
to Christ, our Savior and your Son.
Dialogue with Christ: Thank you, Lord Jesus, for the gift of yourself. You gave me such a great example of humility by humbling yourself to be born as a child. Your grace went before you to prepare the soul of your mother. She was wholly born of grace, so that she could fulfill her mission as mother of the Redeemer and as our mother.
Resolution: I will pray the Angelus for vocations.
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