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.
At first, Matthew’s version of Jesus’ birth seemed an interesting choice for today’s feast, since Mary almost plays a supporting role in the narrative. The focus is more on Joseph and God’s message to him; Mary doesn’t say a word. In fact, with a few notable exceptions–the Magnificat and her instructions during the wedding at Cana, to name two–very little of what Mary says is recorded in the Gospels. Rather than with words, her faith is shown through her actions, and her actions help move forward our salvation through Jesus Christ. Mary says yes to bearing and raising the Son of God, even though that action could have put her in danger. She is the impetus behind Jesus’ first miracle in Cana when she identifies a need and presses her son to help. She stands at the foot of the cross and weeps as her son dies for her and for each of us.
Perhaps Mary doesn’t need any words in this Gospel, because her actions are a model of how we should live. How can we help bring Christ into our world today? How can we be Jesus’ hands and meet the needs of others? How can we give thanks to God for the gift of our salvation today?
—The Jesuit Prayer team
Impart to your servants, we pray, O Lord, the gift of heavenly grace, that the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin may bring deeper peace to those for whom the birth of her Son was the dawning of salvation. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
—Collect Prayer from today’s Mass