The Nativity of the Theotokos (September 8)
Today the Church invites us to enter the feast of New Life Today the mystery of God's love for us and all creation is being revealed in the birth of the Theotokos. Today we join the choirs of the saints and of the angels and archangels magnifying the child of Joachim and Anna through whom incarnate salvation comes into the world.
The feast of the Virgin's nativity marks one of the great crescendos of salvation history. Though the world became shrouded in sin and death, God did not cease to love and therefore interact with men and women who were attuned to his voice and obedient to his will. Because of this interaction, because of the synergy generated between God and man, the patriarchs and prophets struggled to guide God's chosen people upon the path of righteousness. Because of the divine human interaction, the law was given as a teacher to prepare for the coming of the Messiah whose mercy fulfills and completes the covenant of Sinai.
Not desiring to forsake his creation, not withdrawing his love for the one created in his image and likeness, God liberates the cosmos from the barrenness of its inherent mortality. For neither the law nor the prophets could eliminate sin or overcome the sting of death. Only the Son, eternally begotten of the Father and born of Virgin, could take upon himself our sin and our mortality and so open to us the way to new, eternal and transfigured life. It is the Son of the Ever Virgin Mary who binds and annihilates sin and death by his own voluntary death and resurrection.
The birth of the Virgin fills the barrenness of Joachim and Anna with the new temple of Life. It is Mary the child, attuned to God's word and obedient to his will, who becomes more spacious than the heavens. She is the one who contains in her womb the uncontainable God. And as a daughter of Adam and Eve, she is transformed by the Holy Spirit into the Mother of Life. Through her, the Son of God becomes the Son of Man Who, humbling Himself, “became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.” (Phil.2:8) so that we might become children and heirs of our heavenly Father. ( cf .Gal.4:7)
Today we enter the mystery of the Virgin's nativity. With the eyes of faith purified by ascetical struggle we see and confess the Virgin to be the Mother of God - the Mother of Life. In this mystery, our barrenness brought on by sin and culminating in death is to be filled with the saving Word of Life.
Like the Virgin, we are to he attuned to God's word and obedient to his will. The feast of Mary’s birth calls us to acquire the identity of those who carry the living Word within themselves. As the Lord Himself teaches, “My mother and my brothers [and my sisters] are those who hear the word of God and do it.” (Luke 8:21) Only by keeping and doing the word of God can we be transformed into temples of the living God. Only by keeping and doing the word of God can the local Church, the local parish, become the context where God and man live and act together for the life of the world and its salvation.
© Copyright by Fr. Robert M. Arida, 2001