Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Mark Twain said, “The two most important days in your life: the day you were born and the day you find out why.” Celebrating a birthday is a way of affirming the great gift of life and a way of giving thanks for a particular person’s life. Or as Henri Nouwen puts it, “Birthdays need to be celebrated. To celebrate a birthday means to say to someone: Thank you for being you. Thank you for being born and being with us.”
We celebrate today the Birth or Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We remember the day that Mary entered our world and began the last stage of salvation history. With Mary’s birth, we have the dawn of a new day. It is like the dawn here on earth. At first, the darkness starts to weaken, then comes the first light, and finally the rising of the sun itself. Mary’s birth is the dawn of salvation that will come in full splendor with her Son, Jesus. (Joseph Krempa)
Today’s readings remind us that God uses avenues we least expect to work his will and his plan of salvation for humanity and creation. The first reading is from the prophet Micah who says that the Savior would not come from Jerusalem but from the small town of Bethlehem. There Jesus came into human history through the humble and unknown young virgin called Mary. The gospel genealogy also teaches us that all kinds of people, without their knowing it, were links in a chain that brought the ancient promises to fulfillment in Mary.
One message that we can get from these readings is that God works not only in grand and powerful people. God’s grace is also transmitted in ordinary ways through ordinary people. A good conversation (without any negative talk or vibration), a kind and sincere affirmation and appreciation to someone, some words of fraternal correction said with charity, a well-timed intervention in a heated situation, the encouragement of parents and the support of a friend… all these can all be instruments of God’s grace.
When we reflect on our life, we can identify the many unexpected ways that the “Word of the Lord” came to us throughout our life. The significant people in our lives who really touched us were probably not very well known outside their circle of family and friends. Yet they were a transmitter of God’s Word to us.
Like Mary, we all can be instruments of God’s purpose and grace to others. Mary was that transmitter for the human race. We can be so for the people around us. Actually we can choose to be a transmitter of blessing or curse… Good News or fake news… gospel values or distorted values… to say things that uplift and encourage or things that depress others… words of bashing, bullying, animosity, antagonism, and hatred or words of gentleness, kindness, mercy, friendship, and love. May we always choose to be a transmitter of Jesus, of God’s Word, of good news, of mercy and compassion, of peace and love. We can make Mary’s words our own: “May it be done to me according to your word.” Let God use us as he wills.