Pregnant with God’s Presence

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September 8, 2020 – Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/090820.cfm)

Homily

Viva Maria! Viva Hesus!

Mary, indeed, is a key figure in our salvation history. Yet, not one story in the bible that we could find about her birth. The first time we encounter Mary was already at the annunciation of the Angel Gabriel that she was to become pregnant with God.[1]

Mary’s birthday can only be understood and appreciated through her pregnancy and her presence in the life of Jesus. So, as we joyfully celebrate her birthday today, let us discover God’s invitations for us as we remember the life of the Blessed Virgin Mother.

The Book of the Prophet Micah tells us how the lowliest among the clans of Judah, Bethlehem-Ephrathah, was chosen by God to become the bearer of the ruler of Israel, who is called Peace.

Bethlehem was indeed a small town, though the birthplace of David, the great king, but it remained un-influential. Ephrathah is the old name of Bethlehem which was retained by the Jews. These names are indeed symbolic because of the meaning behind them. Bethlehem means the house of bread and Ephrathah means fruitfulness or abundance.

Micah tells us how the Lord brings abundance of bread, an abundance of life from this lowly place. Certainly, the son that Mary brings to us is the bread of life who brings abundance of love and life into the world.

The Gospel today from Matthew recalled how Mary was found out to be pregnant and how Joseph planned to divorce her quietly. However, God intervened through an angel telling Joseph not to be afraid for Mary conceived a son through the Holy Spirit, “She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus (meaning, God saves) because he will save his people from their sins.”

This particular story of the pregnancy of Mary tells us more of the birth of Mary, of why we are celebrating with joy and gratitude to God the birth of the Mother of Jesus and our Mother too.

Through the life of Mary, the Lord reminds us and call us in an intimate way to come closer to Him for God gives abundance of peace and life. There are three points that I invite you to dwell on this birthday of our Mother Mary.

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First, to be humble. God chooses us not because of the great things that we do. Our desire to be great in the eyes of others is futile in the eyes of God. God chooses us because of who we are to God. We are loved though we are not deserving. The clan of Bethlehem-Ephrathah was surely not deserving but in his lowliness God found delight. God finds delight with the unpretentious that is why God found favor with Mary. And Mary responded to God out of gratitude and faith.

Second, God never forgets us. God’s intervention in human affairs proved how God will do everything to let us know that we are loved. God, through the participation of humanity, and that is through the person of Mary, made the Divine presence be felt and be manifested in a concrete way. Thus, even in times of so much confusion and difficulties around us, never forget and always remind ourselves, God has never forgotten us. God is with us.

Third, we can be pregnant with God. Yes, Mary’s pregnancy tells us that humanity can be pregnant with God. This means that we are capable of becoming a bearer of God’s presence to others. To become pregnant with God is to welcome God fully in our life where we are promised to be also filled with love, with peace and with the abundance that life with God can give us. In Mary’s pregnancy with Jesus, her heart is revealed that there was no bitterness, no scars of fear or hate, only love, only peace. By allowing the Lord to be with us, we may also become pregnant with God’s presence where our heart shall also be cleared with bitterness, fear and hatred.

In this way then, we may hopefully celebrate this day of birth of Mary, our Mother, with true joy and gratitude to the Lord for giving us such grace. Hinaut pa.

Jom Baring, CSsR


[1] What we only have is the story of her birth that can be found in a Christian-devotional Text called, “The Protoevangelium of James.” In this text, that parents of Mary were named as Joachim and Anne, an old couple who were also graced with a child.

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