Friday, 8 September 2017 : Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate together the day when our Blessed Mother Mary, the Mother of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, was born from the womb of St. Anne, her mother, without any taints of sin just as she had been conceived without sin. This is a day when we rejoice because the Mother of our Lord and Saviour has been born to us.

Some may be wondering why is it that we as Catholics and Christians give so great an honour to Mary, and still yet some may even and has indeed already accused us of idolatry towards Mary and had the very wrong idea and preconceptions that we worship Mary as if she is a goddess. No, this is not the case, brothers and sisters, for there is indeed a very clear dividing line between our worship of God and the honour which we gave to Mary and the other holy saints.

Mary is honoured even more than other saints because of the very simple reason that she is the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour, and One of the Holy Trinity of God, Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. By the power of the Holy Spirit, and upon the obedience of Mary to the will of God, God Himself came in the flesh, and was conceived in the holy womb of Mary. And through the dogma and traditions of our faith since time immemorial, we have believed that because of this, Mary herself had been set aside by God.

Yes, we all know about how she was conceived without any taints of original sin, unlike that of any other human beings, who were tainted as the descendants of the first sinners, Adam and Eve. That is because Mary is the new Ark of the Covenant, bearing within her the New Covenant of God made through Jesus Christ, her Son, Whom she bore within her womb for an entire nine months. But this at the same time did not elevate her to the status of a divine, unlike what some would like to charge upon us and our faith.

We honour Mary, firstly because we honour her Son and worship Him as our God and King. As it was in the olden days, the mother of a king was highly regarded and respected, honoured and given the same honour as what was accorded to the king, by the virtue of the mother having bore forth the king and took care of him in his early days until he came of age and was capable of taking over and exercising his own authority as a king.

If that was therefore how the kings of this world brought honour upon their mothers and parents, and if that is how we mankind honour the mothers of our rulers, then should we not have done the same with the Mother of our one and only True King, Jesus Christ? Should we not have done the same with the Mother of our God Himself? For His Kingship is greater than any of those of the worldly kings and rulers, and therefore, we honour Mary rightly and justly because of this.

And in Mary, we see a living and vibrant faith, based on total surrender and commitment to the will of God. She is the greatest among all the saints not just because she is the one closest to the throne of her Son in heaven, but also because of her very own exemplary life, filled with love for God, and with devotion to her Son, by following Him throughout His life, throughout His worldly ministries, and even unto the foot of the cross.

Therefore, on this day, on the celebration of the nativity or the birth of the Mother of our Lord and God, Mary, most Blessed Virgin and loving Mother, let us all reflect on the life which Mary had led, her commitment and total surrender to God’s will, and how she has shown us the way forward, that through her we may reach out to her Son, and find our salvation in Him. Let us all rejoice together, that the birth of Mary has brought the new hope of all of us, that as we gaze on her, we see through her, the coming of our salvation in her Son.

Mary, blessed Mother of God, pray for us sinners, and intercede for us before your beloved Son Jesus, our Lord. Be with us through our times of distress, and guide us on our way, so that we may be able to find our path, and walk along that way through your help, to Jesus, our Lord and Saviour. Amen.

Friday, 8 September 2017 : 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.

Friday, 8 September 2017 : 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!

Friday, 8 September 2017 : 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.