1st Reading: Mic 5:1-4a or Rom 8:28-30
The LORD says: You, Bethlehem-Ephrathah, too small to be among the clans of Judah, From you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel; Whose origin is from of old, from ancient times. (Therefore the Lord will give them up, until the time when she who is to give birth has borne, And the rest of his brethren shall return to the children of Israel.) He shall stand firm and shepherd his flock by the strength of the LORD, in the majestic name of the LORD, his God; And they shall remain, for now his greatness shall reach to the ends of the earth; he shall be peace.
Gospel: Mt 1:1-16, 18-23 or 1:18-23
The Book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham became the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers. Judah became the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar. Perez became the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram, Ram the father of Amminadab. Amminadab became the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon, Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab. Boaz became the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth. Obed became the father of Jesse, Jesse the father of David the king. David became the father of Solomon, whose mother had been the wife of Uriah. Solomon became the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asaph. Asaph became the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, Joram the father of Uzziah. Uzziah became the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, Ahaz the father of Hezekiah. Hezekiah became the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amos, Amos the father of Josiah. Josiah became the father of Jechoniah and his brothers at the time of the Babylonian exile. After the Babylonian exile, Jechoniah became the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, Zerubbabel the father of Abiud. Abiud became the father of Eliakim, Eliakim the father of Azor, Azor the father of Zadok. Zadok became the father of Achim, Achim the father of Eliud, Eliud the father of Eleazar. Eleazar became the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ. Now 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.”
THE LORD CHOSE HER: On this day we celebrate the nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Gospel reading narrates the genealogy of Jesus Christ, who although has a divine origin shares our human nature. Joseph his foster father and husband of Mary forms part of this long chain that links Jesus to Abraham. The long years of preparation involving different persons and the actual nativity of Christ 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. God chose Mary before she was born and prepared her for a purpose. By her yes to God, she cooperated in the realization of God’s purpose. God also has a plan for each of us. He invites us every day to cooperate with His will not just for our own salvation but also for the salvation of others.
Prayer: Lord, at times we are tempted to take our destiny in own hands. Help us to discern Your will for us, for in Your will is our joy and peace.
THE BIRTH OF GOD CHOSEN MAIDEN: God, in his mercy and kindness, grants us what we ask in faith. In his desire to ensure our salvation, God gives us the gift of Mary, who will conceive and bear a child, the Redeemer of the world. In the gospel we see, Joseph, after realizing that Mary was expectant, decides to divorce her quietly. However, the Angel of the Lord intervenes and sheds light. Sometimes, we lose hope in life because of our experiences, we forget to offer all our worries to God through prayer and alms giving. Today we learn the importance of putting our trust and hope in God, all times.
MARY THE INTERCESSOR: The reason behind the celebration of the birth of Mary is the saving work of Jesus. For it is through Mary’s birth, life, and consent to God’s plan, that our redemption has been accomplished. So, the gospel of today gives the genealogy of Jesus tracing through history God at work to bring about the Incarnation. On her part, Mary orders her life to God’s plan – inviting and challenging us to do the same. Matthew’s genealogy includes women, interesting for a document of his time, and includes some disagreeable characters. Jesus did not come from a blood line without people who struggled to cooperate with God, but we are led to see in this manifest that God intends to draw into his holy people folks who did not automatically conform their thoughts and actions to God’s desire – and we rejoice to know that this includes us. “When our hands have touched spices, they give fragrance to all they handle. Let us make our prayers pass through the hands of the Blessed Virgin. She will make them fragrant.” — St. John Vianney.