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Liturgical day: September 8th: Birth of Mary

1st Reading (Mic 5:1-4a): 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.

Or (Rom 8:28-30): Brothers and sisters: We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined he also called; and those he called he also justified; and those he justified he also glorified.
Responsorial Psalm: 12
R/. With delight I rejoice in the Lord.
Though I trusted in your mercy, let my heart rejoice in your salvation.

Let me sing of the Lord, «He has been good to me».
Verscicle before the Gospel (---): Alleluia. Blessed are you, holy Virgin Mary, deserving of all praise; from you rose the sun of Justice, Christ our God. Alleluia.

Gospel text (Mt 1,1-16.18-23): This is how Jesus Christ was born. Mary his mother had been given to Joseph in marriage but before they lived together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph, her husband, made plans to divorce her in all secrecy. He was an upright man, and in no way did he want to discredit her. While he was pondering over this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, «Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. She has conceived by the Holy Spirit, and now she will bear a son. You shall call him “Jesus” for He will save his people from their sins». All this happened in order to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: «The virgin will conceive and bear a son, and He will be called Emmanuel» which means: “God-with-us”.

«The virgin will conceive and bear a son, and He will be called Emmanuel»

+ Fr. Agustí ALTISENT i Altisent Monk of Santa Maria de Poblet
(Tarragona, Spain)

Today, Jesus' genealogy, the Saviour that had to come and be born of Mary, shows us how the work of God is interwoven into human history, and how God acts in the secret and silence of every single day. At the same time, we can see his reliability to accomplish his promises. Even Ruth and Rahab (cf. Mt 1:5), foreigners, converted to the faith of the only God (and Rahab was a harlot!), were our Saviour's ancestors.

The Holy Spirit, that mysteriously had to incarnate the Son in Mary, entered, therefore, in our history since a long time before, and traced a path leading to the Virgin Mary of Nazareth and, through her, to her Son Jesus. «The virgin will conceive and bear a son, and He will be called Emmanuel» (Mt 1:23). How spiritually delicate Mary's entrails, her heart and her will, must have been, to engage the attention of the Father and make her become the mother of “God-with-mankind”, He, who had to bring us the supernatural light and grace for the redemption of all of us. In this work, everything bring us to contemplate, admire and worship, through prayer, the greatness, the generosity and the simplicity of the divine action, that will extol and rescue our human lineage through our Lord’s personal involvement.

Further away, in Today's Gospel, we see how Mary was advised she would conceive God, the Saviour of his People. And let us realize that this girl, virgin and Jesus' mother, had to be also our mother. The special election of Mary, «Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!» (Lk 1:42), makes us to admire God's tenderness in his way of proceeding; because He did not redeem us —so to speak— “by remote control”, but by closely binding himself with our family and our history. Who could ever imagine God to be so great and so simple as to so intimately bind himself to us?