FEAST OF THE NATIVITY OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
Romans 8: 28-30
We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.
Responsorial: Isaiah 61:10, Psalm 13:6a-c
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord.
I trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.
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 the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
“Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,”
which means, “God is with us.”
From the moment of the Lord’s conception, His life was a paradox. He came into the world to save us from our sins, and was conceived by the Holy Spirit to a mother who had never sinned. Yet this very circumstance made an innocent and holy woman appear to have sinned, and presented a painful and confusing situation to her betrothed husband. While Mary and Joseph had followed the Lord’s law, they had to experience similar consequences as those who had disobeyed it. They suffered embarrassment, dilemmas over how to handle the situation, and probably the judgment of their community.
Mary and Joseph’s situation was unfair, and it can cause one to wonder why the Lord allowed a saint and His own mother to suffer not only unjustly but in such a socially unacceptable way. But He had a greater purpose in mind. Through the the circumstances of Jesus’ conception, and the pain that it caused, the Lord revealed to Joseph His plan for the salvation of the world, and Joseph grew in faith and holiness by embracing his role in this plan. Mary was already holy and unstained by sin, but the journey that she undertook before her son was born only brought her closer to the Father and prepared her for her unique mission. While she had been redeemed before birth, she was allowed to experience the pain of those who need redemption, and she is a powerful intercessor for us as we seek the Lord’s grace and mercy in our lives.
The first reading promises us today that all things work to good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose. As we read the genealogy of Our Lord in the Gospel, we see generations of men and women who at different times were closer or farther from the Lord, but who had descended from Abraham, a man who loved God, was obedient to Him, and received God's faithfulness in return. Likewise, our lives can be messy at times, whether by our own faults or not, but the Lord does assure us today that, if we love and seek Him, His plan is to keep moving us forward, always closer to Him, always serving Him in new ways. Take a moment today to thank the Lord for His presence in your life and His plan to work all to good. On this Feast of the Nativity of Mary, ask Our Lady for her help in trusting the Lord in every circumstance and rejoicing in His faithfulness.