Saturday, 8 September 2018 : Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate together with the whole Universal Church the occasion when Mary, the Most Blessed Mother of Our God, Jesus Christ, was born into this world, after she was conceived in her mother’s womb and grew there for the nine months of pregnancy. She was born from her mother, St. Anne, pure without sin, just as she was prepared by God specially since the moment of her Conception.

In today’s readings we heard about the fulfilment of God’s long prepared plan to save His people, by the sending of the Messiah, through Whom He would gather all of His people and reconcile them to Himself, saving them from their predicament and fated destruction because of their disobedience and thus, their sins. And God would make this salvation a reality, through none other than the cooperation of Mary, a human being whom God had especially chosen and blessed, to be the Mother of Our God and Saviour.

In today’s Gospel passage, we heard the long citation of the genealogy of Our Lord Jesus Christ, beginning from Abraham, the father of many nations and the ancestor of the Israelites, who himself was the descendant of Adam and Eve, our first ancestors. Through Abraham was born Isaac and then from Isaac, Jacob, and later on through the generations, king David and his successors, to whom God has promised that his descendants will rule forever and his kingdom will never end.

And in the coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ, we have seen the perfect fulfilment of God’s promise to us mankind, first of all, to Adam and Eve, that the reckoning would come for the deceit of Satan who tricked them to sin, and to Abraham, as through the Lord Jesus Christ, all of mankind have been gathered together as one people, all who looked up to Abraham as their father in faith, to king David as mentioned, for Christ is the one true Heir of David’s kingdom.

All of these came about because of the plan and works which God had carried out to its perfect completion, by the cooperation, faith and commitment which one woman, Mary, showed before all of us, by her obedience to God’s will, and by her willing collaboration throughout her life that God’s saving works are carried out to its perfect completion through Christ, her Son.

As mentioned, Mary was prepared and designed to be special, distinct from all other men and women, by the singular grace of God, that she alone of the children of man is preserved from the taints of original sin that has affected all other men and women. She was conceived in the womb of her mother, St. Anne, pure and immaculate, free from sin and perfect, blameless and worthy, in the Dogma that the Church upholds as the Immaculate Conception of Mary.

Therefore, as we remember Mary’s birth into this world on this day, we should reflect on the coming of this beacon of hope into our world. When Mary came into the world, it was the first time since the beginning of time, that a man walked in this world, free and unbound by the chains of sin and death. For ever since Adam and Eve first disobeyed God and sinned against Him, sin has ever since enthralled us all mankind.

But sin has no hold or sway over Mary, for she was without any sin, and remained free from sin throughout her life. Mary lived an exemplary life, filled with love and faith in God, as evident in how she loved her own Son, the Divine Word incarnate. Mary’s love for God was so perfect, as shown by the perfect, motherly love she has shown for her Son, and her obedience to the will of the Father, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in her, that Satan and his wicked forces have no hold whatsoever over her.

Rightfully, Satan was afraid of her, as she was the fulfilment of what God had Himself declared to him at the moment of the fall of Adam and Eve into sin. God said that while Satan will strike at the children of mankind, but the Woman will crush him under her feet. This was a reference to what Mary, the Woman mentioned by God, would do to Satan, for through her role in the bringing of the Saviour of the world, Jesus Christ, into this world, she has crushed for eternity, Satan’s power and kingdom.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us as Christians are called to reflect on our own role in the works of God’s salvation. We should look upon Mary as the perfect role model and example for our own faith and in how we should live out our own lives in accordance with God’s ways. Mary has loved the Lord with all of her heart, and devoted herself so completely to God, in a state of total surrender to the will of God. Many of us can follow her example in how we should be faithful to God.

Why is that so? That is because many of us are still burdened by the temptations of our pride, our greed and human desires, and by all the temptations and hurdles that kept us from truly being able to dedicate ourselves to God. And many of us grew distant from God, because we did not build up a good relationship with Him, as we are often too preoccupied in life, by our careers, studies, and all other things that made us to forget to spend quality time with God.

Let us therefore turn towards God, through Mary, His most blessed and beloved mother, who is our perfect role model as the ideal Christian, in following the Lord’s ways and in how she has walked faithfully and obeyed God all her life. Let us all also ask Mary to intercede for us, for being the Mother of God, she is the greatest of all saints and the one who is closest to her Son, at the very side of His throne, interceding for us sinners.

Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, conceived and born without sin, pure and immaculate, pray for us all sinners, and bring us all closer to your Son, that we too one day, may be worthy as you are, to be with God, your most beloved Son, Our Lord and Saviour. May God bless us always, now and forevermore. Amen.

Saturday, 8 September 2018 : Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 1 : 1-16, 18-23

This is the account of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, Son of David, Son of Abraham. Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers. Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah (their mother was Tamar), Perez was the father of Hezron, and Hezron of Aram. Aram was the father of Aminadab, Aminadab of Nahshon, Nahshon of Salmon.

Salmon was the father of Boaz. His mother was Rahab. Boaz was the father of Obed. His mother was Ruth. Obed was the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of David, the king. David was the father of Solomon. His mother had been Uriah’s wife. Solomon was the father of Rehoboam. Then came the kings : Abijah, Asaph, Jehoshaphat, Joram, Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, Manasseh, Amon, Josiah.

Josiah was the father of Jechoniah and his brothers at the time of the deportation to Babylon. After the deportation to Babylon, Jechoniah was the father of Salathiel and Salathiel of Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel was the father of Abiud, Abiud of Eliakim, and Eliakim of Azor. Azor was the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Akim, and Akim the father of Eliud. Eliud was the father of Eleazar, Eleazar of Matthan, and Matthan of Jacob.

Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and from her came Jesus Who is called the Christ – the Messiah. 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 fulfil 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.

Alternative reading (shorter version)

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 fulfil 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.

Saturday, 8 September 2018 : Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 12 : 6ab, 6cd

But I put my trust in Your unfailing love, my heart will rejoice on seeing Your salvation.

I will sing to YHVH, for He has been good to me!

Saturday, 8 September 2018 : Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Micah 5 : 1-4a

But you, Bethlehem Ephrata, 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.

YHVH, 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 YHVH, in the glorious Name of YHVH, His God.

They will live safely, while He wins renown to the ends of the earth. He shall be peace.

Alternative reading

Romans 8 : 28-30

We know that in everything, God works for the good of those who love Him, whom He has called, according to His plan. Those whom He knew beforehand, He has also predestined, to be like His Son, similar to Him, so, that, He may be the Firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

And so, those whom God predestined, He called, and those whom He called, He makes righteous, and to those whom He makes righteous, He will give His glory.