September 8, 2015

Mary's birth

September 8, 2015:  Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Solemn Vespers with the Blessing of the Pontifical Insignia:  a "Roamin' Catholic report"

Solemn but simple bilingual Evening Prayer service with chanted antiphons, psalms, and canticle, a short homily by Bishop-Elect Brennan exhorting us to reflect Christ's light as Mary did, the bishops'-elect profession of faith and oath of fidelity (with signature over God's word), blessing of the pontifical insignia, intercessions, Our Father, blessing, and dismissal.  Recording will soon be available at

Music included—hats off to director James Drollinger 


Pope Francis
Homily:  We're called to be humble and close to our neighbors as taught in the Beatitudes, to become like children to enter the Kingdom.  God reconciles and brings peace in little everyday things by accompanying us.  Today's genealogy is a list of God accompanying us!  God walks with humanity, good and evil people; the list includes saints and criminal sinners.  God isn't frightened by all the sin; he walks with his people.
By walking with us God increases the hope of his people and their hope in the Messiah.  The Israelites were dreaming of the freedom promised them.  Joseph’s dream is like a summary of dreams about the history of God’s walk with his people.  God too is dreaming about beautiful things for his people, for us, because as a Father he's thinking and dreaming about the best for his children.  Though God is all-powerful, he teaches us to carry out great works and bring peace through little things.  He also teaches us to dream great dreams and aim high.  Let us implore the grace of unity, reconciliation, and peace, but always walking and being close to others.  Everything is contained in these little things—a little piece of bread, a little wine:  God’s dream, love, peace, reconciliation, Jesus.

Reform of annulment Church law:   Two Apostolic Letters motu proprio reform Church legal structures of the Church regarding marital nullity; Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus ('Lord Jesus, Clement Judge') and Mitis et misericors Iesus ('Clement and merciful Jesus') reform the Codes of Canon Law for the Latin and Oriental Churches.  The reforms are guided by seven specific criteria:
    • That there be only one sentence in favor of nullity 
    • A single judge under the bishop's responsibility
    • Bishop as judge
    • Increased brevity in the legal process
    • Appeal to the Metropolitan See
    • Proper role of the Bishops’ Conferences
    • Appeal to the Apostolic See 
The most important principle guiding the reform is salus animarum (salvation of souls), suprema Ecclesiae lex (the supreme law of the Church).
  • 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.
  • Ps 13:6  "With delight I rejoice in the Lord."  I sing, “The Lord has been good to me.”
  • 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.”
    • Creighton:  The names in the genealogy lead to Mary, Joseph, and Jesus. Today is Mary's birthday, but Joseph is the story.  He was going to do the right thing quietly when he learned Mary was pregnant before they lived together. The angel's advice was hard; we're often afraid of what we don't know or understand.  But Joseph in faith and courage did the right thing.  We need to be more like him:  patient in the face of frustration and problems, steadfast....
    • One Bread One Body:  "Hope springs":  Micah prophesied the Lord would give his people up till the Messiah's mother had given birth.  Isaiah prophesied the Messiah would be called 'Emmanuel,' ('God is with us').  Since Mary bore the Messiah and Son of God, we know the Lord hasn't given us up; he's with us till the end.  Like any birthday, today is a day of joy; unlike other birthdays except Jesus', it's an occasion for special graces of new hope.  "And this hope won't disappoint us, because the Holy Spirit has poured out God's love in our hearts."  Happy birthday, Mom!
    • Passionist:  Today's Mary's birthday feast is an occasion to remember what we know and believe about Mary:  She was human, conceived without original sin.  Through her “yes” God brought us salvation.  She carried and bore Jesus.  She shared her pregnancy with her cousin Elizabeth.  She was a mother with feelings like other mothers.  She walked with Jesus and was with him through his passion and crucifixion.  She buried him and with the Apostles and others witnessed his resurrection.  She was assumed into heaven.  She's our advocate and we ask her to pray to God for us.  One of the points of today's genealogy is that Mary and Jesus are human.  Mary's humanity likely means she played games with childhood friends, had dreams, hopes, and favorite foods.  She knew what it means to feel the panic of losing a child in a crowd.  We believe Mary understands us and has compassion for us, especially in our sorrows.  Mary, ask your Son to be merciful to us and to help us be merciful to one another.
    •  Mary's birth prepared for our redemption in Christ.  Matthew concludes his genealogy by saying both Mary and Joseph came from the line of David.  Mary was asked to assume a burden in faith and accept a miraculous exception to the laws of nature.  Pregnancy outside marriage was not tolerated.  Mary could have been rejected by Joseph, her family,all her people.  Joseph, another model of faith, believed the angel's message.  Matthew's genealogy is arranged in three sections, starting with Abraham, father of the chosen people, and ending with David, anointed King.  The middle stage takes us to the Babylonian exile; it's the period of Israel's shame and disaster due to her unfaithfulness.  The third stage takes us to Jesus, Messiah, direct descent of Abraham and David, rightful heir to David's throne.  God fulfilled his promises to Abraham and to David to send a Savior and King.  Jesus is the fulfillment of God's promises, hope of all nations, and Savior of the world.  Do I accept my place in the spiritual genealogy?

    • 'Sheep' tie bar:  "He shall shepherd his flock" (1st reading)
    • 'Clocks' tie:  Time passing during genealogy (gospel)
    • 'Dove' necklace:  “It's through the Holy Spirit that [Jesus was conceived in Mary].” (gospel)
    • Blue shirt ("Blessed Mother blue")

    Don't miss the Ordination of Bishops Barron, Brennan, and O'Connell,

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