Feast of the Nativity of Our Blessed Mother
Today we joyfully celebrate the nativity of our Blessed Mother and the Gospel reading is the genealogy of Jesus as given by Matthew at the beginning of his gospel. It is largely an artificial composition divided into three sets of 14 generations – 52 altogether. It begins with Abraham, the Father of God’s people and many names follow from the biblical account in the Hebrew Testament. It is a very mixed group of people, including the very good and the not good at all. There are also four women in the list, each of them with a special interest of their own. It represents the very diverse history of loyalty and infidelity which was the story of God’s people. Jesus, the incarnate Son of God, is truly identified with our world. “The Word was made flesh and lived among us” Mary, too, was born into this world and, with her Son, and, though, like him, without sin is fully part of it. The ancestry leads down to Joseph, the “husband of Mary”. But it is of Mary that Jesus the Messiah is born.
The first Reading is from Paul’s Letter to the Romans. He speaks of how all are picked out especially by God. “We know that everything works together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” This is an important statement for us to take on board. We see it in Mary’s acceptance of the angel’s invitation, even though she did not fully understand its implication at the time. Like Mary, all of us have been called to be “conformed to the image of the Son”, so that he becomes the first among many brothers and sisters. Mary, too, of course was, even as Mother, totally conformed to the Way of her Son. The last words also apply in a special way to Mary: “Those he predestined he also called; and those he called he also justified; and those he justified he also glorified.” Mary, from the first moment of her existence, was totally conformed to the will of her Son, and so deserves the special glory which she merited after her death. May our Heavenly Mother intercede for us on this beautiful day