Friday, September 08, 2006

Feast of Mary's Birth

In addition to my homily at our Friday school mass, this recent story on Mary's house, which tradition has remembered at Ephesus, appeared in Sunday's NYT Travel section.

Birth of Mary B (08 Sep 2006) Rm 8. 28-30; Ps 13; Mt 1. 18-23
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Looking at Ants

The Church has long remembered the birthday of Jesus’ mother, Mary, on this date. Mary always reminds us of God’s purpose: to work to give people a share in God’s life. God is always looking out for that by inviting us to share God’s life even though we may not know it.

God’s looking is God loving. God loving sees human activity unfold in front of us; and God always chooses to be with us. God sealed that choice by becoming human: God chose to be born like us, choosing Mary to be the mother of Jesus, God’s son.

People wonder, “How does God know ahead of us?” No perfect, 100%, A+ answer exists. We use images to help us appreciate it. This image may sound strange at first: think of ants.

Who has ever watched ants? Are ants big?
When we look down from our height can we see the direction ants are traveling?
Will it take them a chunk of time to reach the place they’re going?

Our field of vision allows us to see in one glance the ants’ starting point, the place they are heading and everything in between, right? We see their ending point although it may take the ants a day to reach it moving on their tiny legs.

God’s loving look at the universe, at our world and history allowed God to “see” Mary and know ahead of Mary’s time she was the one to ask to be the mother of God’s son, Jesus.

God loves and sees us as we are. God knows ahead of us how we can introduce others to Jesus. We do that best by the way we respect others and the way we are with others, beginning at home, at school and everywhere we go. Mary reminds us that it is very, very good that God loves us first, and before we love God.

How can you introduce Jesus best to others? Yes, by how you respect them, and how you are with them.

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