Homily: Birth of Mary

Let us commemorate the illustrious birth of the glorious Virgin Mary, for the Lord has looked with favor on his lowly servant. He sent his angel to announce to her that she would conceive the Savior of the world.

Today is the feast of the Nativity of Mary, and our beloved Jesuit preached to us today at the seminary, so I am interrupting the flow of his homilies from the 30-day retreat to present this one, on the day of its delivery:

Dn Dygert did such a good job with that genealogy. We go through that whole thing, and find out that it isn’t even Jesus’ ancestry. Its that of Joseph, Mary’s husband, of whom Christ was born.
For that whole list, nothing new is really happening; its just more of the same. Abraham, Rahab, David, most people’s lives have some drama, but are largely the same. Mary is something new, and that’s what we’re celebrating today. There was the excitement of the first temple with David and Solomon, but then God’s presence left the temple and the people were dispersed everywhere.
Mary is the new thing, the only thing, we have to offer the world. Everything else is more of the same.
Everything starts today, in the birth of this woman who is the beginning of God re-creating the world; in three months we celebrate the Immaculate Conception, where God sanctified, raised up the marriage embrace and made it bear this holy fruit.
God made it very clear that to enter the kingdom of heaven we have to become like little children. Most people don’t want to enter the kingdom of heaven; even most Catholics don’t want to enter the kingdom of heaven; we’re much more comfortable here, with what we can see, paying off of mortgages; making plans for success and seeing them through. Our brains handle that easily. But we have to be oriented to the kingdom of heaven, not the kingdom of earth. We’ll pray shortly “thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven”, not “as it is on earth”. Mary was childlike.
Mothers teach their children. Mary had such an influence on Jesus, teaching him for the 33 years of his life. Don’t mothers teach their children so much? Even to smile. Coochie-coo.
We don’t know much about Mary, except that she said yes. And that’s all we really need to know. We know of her because we are part of her family. That family formed when Jesus said to her from the cross “woman, behold your son”, and to John “behold your mother”. The family that was formed around her on Pentecost. She said yes to God. This is all we need. To say yes to God. And saying no to the devil helps, too.

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