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(Part 19)


September 8, 2015
Birth of Mary

Today’s readings:
Micah 5:1-4
Psalm 13:6
Matthew 1:1-23

God’s ways are mysterious. Rightly so, for who can plunge into the depths of the mind and heart of the Almighty and eternal God?

Who could have known that when God called Abram, He already was putting His mysterious plan into motion. This plan was about the coming of “Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” (Mt 1:1). It was a plan that would reach “Mary. Of her was born Jesus who is called the Messiah.” (Mt 1:16b). And who could have even remotely imagined, even with Isaiah’s prophecy (see Is 7:14), that Mary would be “found with child through the holy Spirit” (Mt 1:18d). “For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her.” (Mt 1:20b).

Further, the wisdom of God confounds the wise of the world, because God often chooses to use those who are nobodies for His divine work. Who could have known that the Messiah would come from “Bethlehem-Ephrathah, least among the clans of Judah” (Mi 5:1a)? And why does the genealogy of Jesus (we look at women in God’s plan like Mary) include Tamar the prostitute, Rahab the prostitute, Ruth who was not a Jew, and Bathsheba the unfaithful wife? And why did God choose an unknown Jewish maiden living in a remote part of Israel?

Such are the mysteries of God. Even as our feeble minds cannot fully grasp them, they show us the ways of God and teaches us important lessons. First, what happens to us today, as we respond to God’s call, can have an important impact today, tomorrow, or perhaps a century from now. Second, God can use anyone, and delights in using the least, and so all of us are qualified to be used powerfully in the grand design of God. So look not to your own feebleness but to the awesome might of God.

But for us to be used, we need to respond. We need to obey.

Abram left his security and comfort zone to go forth from his land to an unknown land, just trusting in God’s promises. Not knowing how he could become the father of many nations, Abram just obeyed. Joseph wanted to divorce Mary quietly because she was pregnant before they lived together. “Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.” (Mt 1:20a). Joseph obeyed. Mary could not understand how what the angel Gabriel revealed to her could come to be, but she obeyed.

From Abram to Jesus, God has been unveiling His grand plan. In the fullness of time, Jesus won for us our salvation. God is still at work even now. God’s mysterious ways continue. We need to trust in God’s plan, and in the mercy Jesus showed on the cross. “But I trust in your mercy.” (Ps 13:6a). We trust, and so we obey. We obey, and we will experience the fullness of salvation and the great joy this brings. “Grant my heart joy in your salvation” (Ps 13:6b).

Today we also celebrate the martyrdom of our brothers Ben Donato and Jun Frias, who gave their lives for the cause of Christ while on mission in Vanuatu, 18 years ago. When the car they were using was hoisted from the waters, there they were, clutching their rosaries.

Happy birthday, Mama Mary. Happy birthday to eternal life, my brothers Ben and Jun.

May we all always exult in God, through good times and bad times, and trust in His mercy and divine plan. “I will sing to the Lord, for he has dealt bountifully with me!” (Ps 13:6c).

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