Nativity of the Virgin Mary

Matthew 1: 1-16, 18-23
Rom 8: 28-30 / Ps 13: 6ab, 6c

Of her was born Jesus, Who is called the Messiah.
(Matthew 1:17)

Reading our Lord’s genealogy
Can be such a puzzling mystery
But if we look deeply we can see
God’s plan for Mary’s nativity.

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, 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, Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron. ….. Elea’zar 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 Christ.

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit; and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel” (Matthew 1:1-16,18-23).

Reflection

In today’s Gospel, Matthew outlines the genealogy of our Lord, Jesus Christ in the lineage of King David, starting from Abraham down to His father Joseph, the husband of Mary. The Gospel writer divides this genealogy of the Messiah into three spans: from Abraham to David, from David to the exile in Babylon, and from the exile to the Messiah, Jesus Christ. It was a long and painstaking effort for St. Matthew to trace the lineage of our Lord. Among the four Gospel writers, he was the only one who outlined the genealogy of 42 generations from Abraham to our Lord in the line of His foster father Joseph.

Today we celebrate the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The circums-tances of her birth however are not found anywhere in Holy Scriptures. So, in today’s Gospel, we read instead the narrative about how St. Joseph learned about the Virgin Mother’s pregnancy, and their great fortune in being chosen to be the parents of the Messiah.

Throughout the history of the Church, the most controversial issue about the Blessed Virgin Mary has been her Im-maculate Conception. It is a sad com-mentary that this issue is central to the schism dividing the Protestants and the Catholics. The doctrine of the Church which Protestants find hard to accept is that the Blessed Mother was conceived and born without the stain of original sin, and throughout her life never com-mitted any sin. We believe that as the Mother of God, she was granted a very special privilege to be exempted from the original sin of Adam. Why? As God’s Mother, His honour is inseparably bound up with hers. Her honour or shame inescapably affects her Son. She must therefore be raised to every dignity that befits the Mother of God. Can you imagine had our Virgin Mary incurred even the slightest sin, the shame of it would have passed on to her Son. The All-Holy God would have incurred the stain of sin! Isn’t this unthinkable? God’s own honour was at stake. It could not be. She must be sinless. Besides, God is wise and just. Since He chose Mary to be His Mother, He therefore gave her all the gifts necessary to make her fit for the role. And her first birthday gift when she was born was to be immaculate, sinless.

In 1854, Pope Pius IX made a Formal Declaration: “The most holy Virgin Mary, in the first moment of her conception, by a unique gift of grace and privilege of Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ the Redeemer of mankind, was preserved free from all stain of original sin.” This doctrine had in fact been defined as early as 431 A.D., when the Council of Ephesus, in countering the heresy of Nestorius, who taught that Mary gave birth to Jesus Christ’s human nature only, responded that persons, and not natures, are conceived and born, and that Jesus Christ is a Divine Person. The purpose of this doctrine was, and is, clearly to safeguard the Divinity of Jesus Christ. As such, it is Christ-centered, not necessarily Mary-centered.

Today let us give a special time to meditate on the second greatest wonder that our Almighty Creator designed for our redemption – in making the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Mediatrix, the matrix of our salvation, through whom His great plan was realized. God chose her to be His Mother on earth, but she also had the choice, the free will to accept or refuse the assignment. True to her pure, humble and obedient nature, she said yes. And that is why we honor her to this day.

Thank You, Father God, for giving us Mary, the sinless Mother of Your Son, to be our Mother. May our generations continue be blessed through her loving intercession. O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us, who have recourse to thee. Amen.

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