“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days.” (Micah 5:2)
In the entire Catholic liturgical calendar, there are only three persons whose birthdays are celebrated as feasts; Jesus Christ, John the Baptist and Mary, the Mother of Jesus. This goes to show how important these three persons are as far as the history of our salvation is concerned.
Exactly nine months ago, we celebrated the feast of Mary’s Immaculate Conception (8th December last year). Today, we are celebrating the birthday of Mary. Like every other child, her parents, Saints Joachim and Ann, had no idea that this child would eventually be the one to carry in her womb the Son of God, Jesus Christ our Redeemer and king. They had no idea that this child was conceived without any spot or stain of original sin as God’s own way of preparing her for the role she was to play as Mother of Jesus Christ.
One thing that is clear from today’s readings is the fact that God does not act arbitrarily. He plans, he properly prepares the ground for his plans to come to pass. As God said to Jeremiah, “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11). Thousands of years before Christ was born, God already planned what he was going to do.
As we hear in the conclusion of today’s Gospel passage, ‘all this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’ By the time the Prophet Micah was speaking in today’s first reading, even Micah himself had no idea when his prophecies would come to pass.
Dear friend, as we greet our Mother Mary happy birthday today for saying “Yes” to God’s plan for her, I want you to know that your life is not a mistake. Like Mary, your birth was for a purpose and the choice is yours to allow God to work through you. Live your life in such a way that long after your death, many would still celebrate your birthday.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, as we celebrate your Mother’s birthday, deepen our love and devotion to you. Amen.
Bible Study: Micah 5:2-5, Psalm 13:5-6 and Matthew 1:1-16, 18-23).