September 8, 2017

Mary's birth

September 8, 2017:  Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

See about a dozen connections with today?
Legend below
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Pope Francis in Colombia

Bogotá homily:  Artisans of peace, promoters of life:  The first disciples' hopes for a bountiful catch were frustrated with what seemed to be wasted efforts.  The sea also represents vastness and evokes everything that threatens human existence.  Crowds knew Jesus was moved by human suffering and his words were impartial, profound, and true.  His word leaves no one indifferent; it has power to convert hearts and change plans.  It's demonstrated by action and is valid both for the safety of the shore and the fragility of the sea.

Here too crowds long for a word of life.  You dwell in a fertile land, but darkness threatens and destroys life:  injustice, social inequality, corruption, interests that selfishly consume what's destined for the good of all, disrespect for human life, thirst for vengeance, hatred, numbness to victims' pain.  Jesus destroys the darkness when he tells Peter to put out into the deep.  We know about work without success, but we need to trust the Master, whose word is fruitful even where darkness renders efforts fruitless.  Peter accepts Jesus’ invitation to leave everything and follow him, to become a new fisherman and bring God's Kingdom to others.


Casting out the nets involves responsibility.  We're called to conversion in a net that gathers everyone together to defend and care for human life, especially when it's fragile and vulnerable.  Many can become vibrant, just communities if they welcome God's Word; from them will arise disciples who freely follow Jesus and love, respect, and promote life in all its phases.  Signal each other to see each other as brothers, sisters, companions, and partners.  Jesus has passed and passes through, offering his presence and fruitful word, calling out of  darkness, bringing us to light and life. leaving no one to the mercy of the storms, going to every family, making space for the common good above other interests, carrying the most fragile, promoting their rights.

Peter experiences his smallness and Jesus' word and power; he knows his weakness as we know ours.  Jesus invites us too to put out into the deep, take shared risks, leave our selfishness behind, give up paralyzing fear, and follow him, becoming artisans of peace and promoters of life.


To CELAMTo advance your mission, empower young people, women, and lay people, expand their role, and trust them to help the Church rise to the challenges we face.  Place Jesus’ message at the heart of the Church as the criterion for measuring our structures' effectiveness, our labors' results, our ministers' fruitfulness, and the joy we awaken.  God draws near to us and meets us.   If we don't set out with him on our mission, we get lost and can confuse our vain needs with his cause.  Our mission must be concrete.  Speak with people, one on one, in their concrete situations.  Keep building bridges, tearing down walls, integrating diversity, and promoting encounter and dialogue.

Put trust and hope in your young people, women, and laity.  Train young people and empower lay Catholics.  Without women, the Church loses its power to be continually reborn.  Our deepest problems will only be resolved through the Christian simplicity hidden to the powerful but revealed to the lowly.

Read
  • Mi 5:1-4a  From you, little Bethlehem, shall come the ruler in Israel; he'll shepherd his flock by God's strength, in God's name; his greatness shall reach to the ends of the earth; he shall be peace.
  • Rom 8:28-30  All things work for good for those who love God.  Those he foreknew he predestined, called, justified, and glorified.
  • Mt 1:1-16, 18-23  The genealogy of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham:  Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah and his brothers, Perez and Zerah (Tamar's sons), Hezron, Ram, Amminadab.  Nahshon, Salmon, Boaz (Rahab's son), Obed (Ruth's son), Jesse, King David.  Solomon (son of Uriah's wife), Rehoboam, Abijah, Asaph.  Jehoshaphat, Joram, Uzziah.  Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah.  Manasseh, Amos, Josiah.  Jechoniah and his brothers.  After the Babylonian exile:  Shealtiel, Zerubbabel, Abiud.  Eliakim, Azor, Zadok.  Achim, Eliud, Eleazar.  Matthan, Jacob, Joseph (Mary's husband), Jesus called Christ.
Before Mary and Joseph lived together, she was found with child.  An angel told Joseph, “Don't be afraid to take Mary; she conceived through the Spirit and will bear a son to save people from their sins.”  This fulfilled the prophecy, The virgin shall bear a son, and they'll name him Emmanuel, “God with us.”
"Birth of Mary" gallery
The Birth of the Virgin/ Giotto
Geburt Mariä/ Altdorfer
The Birth Of Mary/ Ghirlandaio
The Birth of Mary/ Boccaccino
Reflect
  • Creighton:  "Too small?"  Some think bigger is better, but God prefers the small and insignificant. The Messiah’s birthplace is described as “too small....” God’s penchant for detail arranged that the mother of Jesus should be this woman, at this place, with these parents, at this time. God may reverence and delight in the details of our own lives. May Mary intercede for us that we grow smaller, more humble, and recognize God's greatness. 
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Not on the map":   The "little town" Bethlehem was too small to be on the Judah map, even though it was in Judah.  But it was big in God's plans.  Mary was a humble teenager from not-well-regarded Nazareth in Galilee.  Nazareth, Galilee, and Mary weren't on the Jews' spiritual map, but the last in their eyes became first in God's.  Mary said yes to God and became the mother of our Savior, whose greatness reached to the ends of the earth.  Whoever may consider me insignificant, I'm on God's map, precious to him, and my name is engraved on his hands.  He'll do great things through our faithful service.  Let's take our place on God's map.
  • Passionist:   Youths in Jesus' time could name the past 20+ generations of their family, with pride and certainty.  Matthew wants his audience to know Jesus as Son of God and son of Abraham.  Today's readings focus on Mary's role in the birth of Jesus.  Moslems also recognize Mary’s special place in salvation.  The gospel tells the story of Jesus’ birth through the lens of Joseph’s genealogy and his faithfulness to God.  Joseph's words aren't recorded in scripture, but his actions show his dedication to God and deep care for Mary and Jesus.  In this he's a model for parents who pour their love out in acts of sacrifice, forgiveness, acceptance, and kindness.  Mary and Joseph respond to God wholeheartedly at considerable cost to themselves.  Jesus is surrounded by love and security.  For many families life takes difficult turns, and what the parents seek isn't always possible, but like Joseph and Mary, love and trust help us along the way.  Love, selflessness, and generosity become greater gifts than dwellings, comfort, or certainty.  May we imitate Mary and Joseph's faithfulness....
  • DailyScripture.net:  "Mary's call to be the Savior's mother":  Mary's birth prepared for our redemption.  Matthew concludes his genealogy by indicating that both Mary and Joseph came from David's line.  Mary, asked to accept the miracle of Jesus' conception, the risk of pregnancy outside marriage, and possible rejection by Joseph, her family, and her people, believed and trusted in God.  Joseph, believing the angel, took her as his wife and accepted the child as the Messiah.  He's a model of faith, faithful witness, and servant.
Matthew's genealogy of Jesus has three sections:  Abraham through David, then to the Babylonian exile (time of Israel's shame and disaster due to her unfaithfulness), then to Jesus, heir to David's throne.  God fulfilled his promises to Abraham and David to send a Savior and King to rule over and deliver Israel.   Jesus the hope for all God's people...
Dress legend
  • 'Ruler' tie bar:  "From you shall come forth the 'ruler' in Israel" (1st reading)
  • 'Olympics' tie pin:  "His greatness shall reach the ends of the earth" (1st reading)
  • 'Sheep' tie bar:  "The Lord shall shepherd his flock" (1st reading)
  • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  "He shall be peace" (1st reading)
  • 'Angel' pin:  Angel appeared to Joseph in a dream (gospel)
  • 'Dove' pin:  "The child has been conceived in Mary through the Holy Spirit" (gospel)
  • 'Clocks' suspenders:  Time passing during genealogy (gospel)
  • "I ♥ my dad" tie:  Genealogy (gospel)
  • 'Mary' pin (gospel)