Feast of the Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Matthew 1: 1-16, 18-23
An account of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Aram, and Aram the father of Aminadab, and Aminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David.
And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.
And after the deportation to Babylon:Jechoniah was the father of Salathiel, and Salathiel the father of Zerubbabel, and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, and Azor the father of Zadok, the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah.
Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:“ Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)
The Blessedness of Mary
“Henceforth all generations will call me blessed.” Catholics are sometimes made uneasy, especially in dealings with our separated brethren, by the lack of explicit biblical evidence for the Church’s veneration of Mary. One cure for this malady can be found in a hermeneutic that joins rather than separates Scripture and Tradition, reading both from the heart of the Church. How might this help us understand today’s feast?
“Henceforth all generations will call me blessed.” This truth that Mary proclaims in her canticle was confirmed in the early Church. Around the middle of the second century, a Christian author composed a work entitled “The Nativity of Mary,” better known to history as the Protoevangelium of James. Its influence on subsequent theology and art has been immense, and from this work we have obtained the names of Mary’s parents, Saints Joachim and Anne, as well as the first glimpses into the sanctity of Mary’s early life.
Although the Protoevangelium is not inspired Scripture, nor is it reliable in every respect, it clearly manifests the desire of the early Christians to proclaim the blessedness of Mary, in particular her perpetual virginity. In so doing, this work confirms the prophecy of her canticle.
Henceforth all generations will call me blessed.” Not only the author of the Protoevangelium, but all generations of Christians, throughout all the holy churches of East and West, have proclaimed the blessedness of Mary. We do this through the celebration of her liturgical feasts, through devotional prayers like the Rosary and the great litanies, and through the fashioning of images and the building of churches in her honor. Yet we best proclaim the blessedness of Mary through imitation of her lowliness, her obedience, her perfect love, for which the Lord has crowned his handmaiden Queen of Heaven. Most holy, most pure, most blessed and glorious Lady, pray for us.
—Sam Conedera, S.J.
Lord, we know that your Mother is our advocate who leads us back to you when we begin to grow complacent in our spirituality. We ask Mary to deepen our commitment to our families, especially when we are discouraged by selfish attitudes and irresponsible behaviors. We ask your Mother to give us wisdom as we confront tough decisions. And we turn to Mary when our hearts are heavy because we partake in others’ pain and losses. Lord, we ask your Mother to awaken our senses to the signs of your faithfulness and to be our model for using our gifts to lighten the burden of another.
—The Jesuit Prayer Team
Please share the Good Word with your friends!