“We should be filled with joy at the birth of Mary. Her womb was a most holy temple. There, God received his human nature and thus entered visibly into the world of men.” ~ Saint Peter Damian
Today is a very special day on the Catholic Liturgical Calendar as we pause to commemorate the birth of the Mother of Jesus, formally referred to as the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. As Bishop Barron points out in his morning meditation, “Mary is a rich and multivalent symbolic figure in all of the Gospels. In Luke’s infancy narrative, she emerges as the spokesperson for ancient Israel, speaking, in her Magnificat, in the words and cadences of Hannah.”
In today’s Gospel (Matthew 1:1-16, 18-23) we partake of a little Ancestry.com New Testament style, as we read the book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. If many of us were to be honest ~ your humble and easily distracted author included ~ we’d probably have to admit that this Gospel Reading can, at times, compel our minds to meander into the realm of the 1:00PM Vikings/Lions Game, the afternoon barbecue menu or whatever else it is that one tends to do on Sunday Afternoons after Mass.
But it is interesting nonetheless to note that the Incarnation had been taking place over a long period of time, God gradually acclimating himself to humanity. Of equal intrigue is the long line of charismatic characters: saints, sinners, cheats, murderers, poets, kings, insiders, and outsiders....all culminating with the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
King David for instance is mentioned, an iconic figure to be certain, the great king who unites the nation, annihilating the enemy, and ultimately establishing the first Israelite Empire. But he is also an adulterer and a murderer, the one who abuses his power in order to eliminate Uriah the Hittite. This is all part of the messy but carefully woven tapestry of who we are as God‘a chosen ones, His family.
In his book Hail Holy Queen, Scott Hahn said of our Blessed Mother “If the first ark contained the word of God in stone, Mary’s body contained the word of God enfleshed. If the first ark contained miraculous bread from heaven, Mary’s body contained the very Bread of Life that conquers death forever. If the first ark contained the rod of the long-ago ancestral priest, Mary’s body contained the divine person of the eternal priest, Jesus Christ.” Mary’s role in our salvation story is profoundly evident everywhere we turn.
It was Mary’s ‘yes’ to God’s will, as murky and uncertain as it all must’ve seemed to this young virginal Jewish girl, that put each and every one of us on this road to salvation. Her intercession has never been more vital than it is right now. Seek it constantly while venerating her as the Mother of God and Queen of God’s eternal paradise. For in the words of Saint John Vianney, “To serve the Queen of Heaven is already to reign there, and to live under her commands is more than to govern."
Pray for us, oh Holy Mother if God . . that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
“Blessed are you, Holy Virgin Mary, deserving of all praise; from you rose the sun of justice, Christ our God”