Homily (Reflection) for the Feast of the Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary (8th September, 2016) on the Gospel and the Feast
Mic 5:1-4 or Rom 8:28-30;Ps 12:6-7. (R. Is 61:10);
Matt 1:1-16.18-23 or Matt 1: 18-23.
The Nativity/Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary celebrates the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The earliest known account of Mary's birth is found in the Protoevangelium of James (5:2), an apocryphal text from the late second century, with her parents known as Saint Anne and Saint Joachim. Saint John the Baptist and the Blessed Virgin Mary are the two saints whose birthdays are commemorated because of the singular mission each had in the salvation history. This feast started about the sixth century and is venerated in Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, Some Oriental Orthodox Churches, and Anglican Communion.
Topic: Celebrating birthdays.
Today’s gospel is on the genealogy of Jesus Christ (Matt 1:1-16) and also how His birth took place, (Matt 1:18-23). Mary was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit when she had been engaged to Saint Joseph, but before they lived together. Joseph had decided to dismiss her quietly to save her public disgrace when the angel of the Lord told him not to do so and cleared his doubts. All these fulfilled the prophesy of Isaiah, “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel” (cf. Is 7:14).
During birthdays, one of the prayers for the celebrants is for many more years. The Psalmist hints, “Which of you desires life, and covet many days to enjoy good? Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it” (Ps 34:12-14).
Jesus asks, “For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life?” (Matt 16:26) The book of Proverbs reads, “The wise man's path leads upward to life, that he may avoid Sheol beneath” (Prov 15:24; cf. Pr 14:27. 19:23). And whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life and honour, cf. Prov 21:21.
As we noted in the background, we celebrate Blessed Virgin Mary’s birthday today because of the role she played in our salvation history. It is important to consider every moment of our lives what we have offered to the world, cf. Eccl 6:3. It is the outcome that makes one’s life either worth celebrating or regretting, cf. Eccl 7:1. Our lives are like mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes, cf. Jas 4:14; Ps 39:4. We conclude with Saint Paul, “godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” (1Tim 4:8). Let us therefore live lives worth celebrating, cf. Eph 4:1.
Bible Reading: Prov 19:1-29.
Thought for today: Live life worth celebrating.
Let us pray: May God help us live lives good enough to be celebrated – Amen.
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