The Gospel according to Matthew (1:18-23)
This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.”
I remember so clearly when Ana and I found out we were going to have our first child. Although I had experienced many joys in my life thus far, this was different. Beside the obvious joy of new life, I was in awe of how Ana carried our daughter for nine months then endured the challenges of labor and delivery. I’ve always said that if men had the babies every family would have only one child. We were blessed with three more children and, so far, have six grandchildren.
So, today we remember and celebrate the birth of the Mother of God. Before God was incarnate our salvation depended on the existence of someone who would endure controversy and so much suffering. Not just with the pregnancy and birth of her child but with the weight of all humanity upon her. We know that her humility, faith, and obedience led to her response when this was all placed before her. One can only imagine how she was raised by her parents, Anna and Joachim, family, and friends. Yet there was nothing spectacular about her except for her choice to become the mother of Jesus and therefore the mother of salvation.
In contemplating the birth and life of Mary every day she lived was one day closer to God’s plan to change the course of our existence. The God who created ALL things, including every single one of us entered humanity through the life of a young girl who from then on, like Christ, would always look out for us. Not as our savior but as our intercessor. Whenever we struggle, we know that the great I AM is always with us. Mary will always be the one who brought Jesus into the world and who will never tire of bringing us to Jesus.
Action of the Day:
In prayer today let us ask for the grace we need to follow the example of our Blessed Mother. Let us ask for the humility and stength to carry our cross and follow her son. Today may not be your mother’s birthday but I invite you to reach out to her, in heaven or earth and tell her how you appreciate her and all the sacrifices she made to raise you. Also ask our Blessed mother to intercede for your mother and provide her with the grace of Emmanuel, “God with us”.