September 8, 2016
The Gospel Today
Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
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.”
REFLECTION (Sem. Jesus S. Salamanca, Jr.)
What is there between Birth and Death? Everyone is born and bound to die. These two realities are the common truth for all people. But what happens between these two life events lie our distinction in comparison with others. Our purpose makes us distinct with each other but this is not something that we determine on our own. It is the grace of God that enables us to discover our purpose in life. After having discovered it, it is our responsibility to freely respond to it. As Eleanor Powell said “What we are is God’s grace to us. What we become is our gift to God.”
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, but the Gospel reading speaks about the Birth of Jesus. Looking at it, that is basically the purpose of the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary – to give birth to our Savior: The Emmanuel; The God who dwells amongst His people. We do not know when it happened but what we know is the purpose of her birth – to be the Virgin Mother of the Son of God. We can only appreciate the nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the light of Christ’s Nativity. It is as if the same in saying that the essence of Mary can never be understood separately with Christ’s.
In the seminary, I easily forget the dates of the seminary events but the learnings I gained through those events are vividly retained in my memory. The events that had significance to me in formation were those I learned many things the hard way. Those are the times that things are seems to be very difficult; that I cannot do anything anymore but to surrender to God. That is what formation is all about – total surrendering to God. Like Mary, after offering everything to God, I should keep those events in my heart and nurture it with constant prayers and meditations, for like Mary, only by the openness of heart I can receive the grace of God.
Jesus is the focal point of Mary’s life. It is also the same calling that she is inviting us – to follow Christ and do whatever He is telling us.