Matthew 18:15-20
September 5, 2020
Message 0002 Input and Reflection
September 9, 2020

Matthew 1:1-16, 18-23 – Nativity of the BVM

September 8 – Nativity of the BVM
Micah 5:1-4
Matthew 1:1-16, 18-23

A. Text and Context

  • It is quite strange that today we celebrate the birth of the Mother of Jesus but the gospel tells us about the circumstances surrounding the conception and birth of our Lord
  • Well, the whole bible talks very little about the life of Mary if it is not totally silent about her
  • There is wisdom in this. Mary in her great humility would not even wish to share the limelight intended to her own son
  • You see, when the 4 evangelists were still planning to write the gospels, they already know beforehand that Mary would never wish to have herself very much elaborated in their writings
  • Remember that Mary was even entrusted to John at the foot of the cross before Jesus died
  • And so John took care of Mary until her last days in Ephesus where according to tradition was the place where Mary died
  • We can assume with certainty and it would just be very sensible that John would love to write more about Mary but the Mother of God in all her humility and lowliness will never allow it
  • And so the canonical scriptures that we have, talk so little about the life of Mary
  • But what the scriptures are so silent about is equally elaborated in great details in the non-canonical writings of the Church (apocryphal) especially in the Protoevangelium of James or the First Gospel of James
  • So we begin with the Immaculate Conception in the liturgy and that is December 8 and 9 months within the normal course of pregnancy and delivery comes the birth of Mary and that is today September 8
  • How did it happen? Joachim and Anne, the parents of Mary is a childless couple living for 20 years
  • And on the feast of dedication when the men offer their gifts to the temple, the offering of Joachim was denied by the high priest because according to the law a husband is cursed if he has no male or female child and therefore his offering is not worthy before God
  • And Joachim searched the list for the 12 tribes of Israel who among the men have no children and he found out that he is the only one; and the people ridiculed him
  • And so Joachim was so filled with sorrow and shame and he went to the forest praying and fasting for forty days asking God to grant him an offspring and did not go home to Anna
  • When Anna heard this, she lamented her widowhood; a woman without a husband is a social shame. A wife without a child is a curse. And the people also ridiculed her
  • Anna put on her sackcloth and mourned. But she changed her mind. She removed the sackcloth and wore her bridal gown, went to the garden and prayed to the Lord to vindicate her
  • To make the story short, angels appeared to Joachim and Anna and they reunited once more and Anna conceived. That was the Immaculate Conception of Mary as written in the gospel of James and believed by the people for centuries according to tradition
  • Nine months after, the Mother of God was born and when she was 3 years old Mary was offered to the temple and spent her childhood there only to go out in the future for her betrothal to Joseph

B. Human Situation

  • So you can imagine how God has immaculately prepared Mary to be the vessel of our Lord
  • And you can just imagine if these writings of the gospel of James would be included in the official canons of the Church
  • The people would put Mary in a pedestal similar with that of our Lord because the circumstances of their conception and birth have very striking similarities
  • The people could easily be swayed to fanaticism so we now understand why the Church has not officially declared other writings as canonical
  • If we know these things without the benefit of prayer and reflection surely, we will put Mary as another God just like Jesus
  • That is why the dogma of the Immaculate Conception is so important because Mary has benefitted in advance the gains of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross preparatory to her motherhood

C. Challenge

  • So today as we recall the time of the Immaculate Conception of Mary and as we celebrate her Nativity today, we now realize that the Catholic faith is so beautiful
  • You know when I was still a seminarian we had our CPE (Clinical-Pastoral Exposure) in Silliman University with an ecumenical group
  • I was very much surprised that in the homilies of the protestant UCCP they have such great respect for Mary
  • I was surprised that the Baptist seminarians would attend mass in a Catholic Church
  • If other religions appreciate our very own Church then how much more is expected of us who are already members of the Church!
  • Mary was born because God has prepared her a special place for her role of redemption
  • We are reminded today that our devotion to Mary must continue and be nurtured all the time because Mary has gained a lot of favors from God in order to intercede for us
  • Jesus will never deny what his mother would request. Let it be that as Catholic Christians we also play our role of salvation by becoming a humble witness to the Catholic faith
  • • Mary already said yes and we are called to play our role of salvation by being faithful to the tenets of the Catholic faith by giving reverence and honor to Mary
  • Our devotion to Mary is an attraction that even the Protestants and the Muslims appreciate
  • Let it be that our love and devotion to the Mother of God become precious jewels to make the Catholic faith attractive to others

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