Homily for the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary : Fr. Michael Udoekpo
· Micha 5:1-4a OR Rom 8:28-30
· Ps 13:6ab, 6c (R/ Is 61:10)
· Matthew 1:1-16,18-23
Conformity with Christ: Our Birth Day Gift to Mary
Today we celebrate Mary’s birthday. The birthday of the mother of God. As the responsorial psalm Isaiah 61:10 would put it, “we rejoice in the Lord.” And what a joy this was to the parents of Mary, Joachim and Anne. And what a joy this was to God the Father, the Holy One of Israel, the master planner, who had planned for this Day!
That God had a purpose for Mary to be a devoted and conforming mother of God, just as he does for each us is evident in the sacred scriptures and in the teachings of the church. God planned that Mary be conceived immaculately. She is the one spoken of in Isaiah 7:14 that a virgin, a parthanos, or an Alma’ shall conceived and give birth to a Son, Immanuel and the prince of Peace. She is the one foretold in the alternate 1st reading of today, the Prophet Micah 5:1-4a.
Saint Paul also speaks of this plan of God, and the need for us to conform to this divine plan in the Romans 8:28-30. Paul says “we know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. Continuing, Paul says those God foreknew he predestined to conform to the image- summophos tes eikonos of his son; the icon of Jesus( Gen 1:27). In Ephesian 1:4 the same Paul says, we all were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy before God. For Paul, we are call to imitate Jesus in Good times and in bad times like our mother Mary. Interestingly, in that 1st reading, Paul also adds, those he predestined he called, those he called, he justified, those he justified he glorified. Very strong aorist, past-undefined verbs to highlights the plan of God for us- for which we are all invited to follow.
Remember, everything about Mary whose birthday we celebrate today, points to Christ, whose birth of course is narrated in today’s Gospel. Imagine on the birth day of Mary the story about the birth of Christ, his genealogy is told. What does that say to us? Everything points to Christ.
Think of Mary and the joyful mysteries- the annunciation, the visitation, the birth of Christ, his presentation and the finding of Christ in the temple- Mary and Joseph walking back and forth searching for him. Think of Mary and the sorrowful mysteries. She remained faithful, devoted and conforming to Christ in all these. Her favorite line is Fiat. Be it done to me according to your word. In John 2 at Cana in Galilee she told those who ran out of wine at the wedding party, - just listen to him, do what Christ tells you!
In fact, our Marian prayers and devotion are nothing else than asking Mary, how is your Son. Please, lead me to him. Our Mariology must be Christocentric! On this Birth day of our Lady, the greatest gifts I believe we can offer her is by allowing her to guide us to Christ, to teach us on how to conform to Christ- in patience, in holiness, in courage, in endurance, in humility, in every circumstances of our life.
As we engage in our studies and shared ministry this semester—may we strive to imitate Mary, conforming to Christ, and be ready to always say Fiat- be it done to me according to your Words.