Today the Church celebrates the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary…Mary’s birthday! We celebrate this nine months after the Immaculate Conception. Now, we don’t really know the exact day, date or year that Mary was born. We really don’t even know where she was born. In fact, we have no certainty at all about the details of Mary’s life before the Annunciation. Some people scoff at that. But the details are not really important. The important thing is that Mary was born, chosen from all time to be the Mother of the Savior.
The Church has always held Mary in the highest regard. Many non-Catholics hold a different view. They see any honor given to Mary as honor taken away from Christ. But this a flawed attitude. The men who began the Reformation, Luther, Calvin and Zwingli, all had a great devotion to Mary. It was only later that those who followed them began to “discredit” Mary.
I always like to put it this way: When I was young, my best friend was Paul. Paul and I were so close that we were like family. One year they had a big party for Paul’s mom’s birthday. By attending that party and honoring Paul’s mom, was I taking away from my relationship with Paul? Of course not! Quite the opposite! I became even closer to Paul and felt more a part of his family. That’s the way it is with us and Mary. We join with Jesus in celebrating His mom’s birthday today. As brothers and sisters of Jesus, Mary is our mother, too. Happy Birthday, Mom!
Father, as we honor and celebrate Mary, may we be ever more deeply drawn into the family of Jesus. Amen.