September 8, 2017
by Rev. Richard Gabuzda
Institute for Priestly Formation at Creighton University
click here for photo and information about the writer

Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Lectionary: 636

Micah 5:1-4a or Romans 8:28-30
Psalm 13:6ab, 6c
Matthew 1:1-16, 18-23 or Matthew 1:18-23

Praying Ordinary Time

Pope Francis' homily on the Nativity of Mary.

A morning homily.

An invitation to make the
Online Retreat

Too Small?

Although I don’t know its origin, there’s a three-word phrase that reveals the way we approach many of our life situations:  “Bigger is better!”  If we come from a small town, we usually presume that life in “the big city” must be better.  When a child sees gifts wrapped at Christmas, he or she presumes that the bigger box contains the better gift.

How different is our God!  The scriptures for today’s feast move us to contemplate God’s preference for the small and insignificant.  Micah describes the Messiah’s birthplace as “too small to be among the clans of Judah” (with places like the big city of Jerusalem).  And the recital of the details of the Messiah’s family tree suggests that God has a penchant for the smallest of details!  These passages can also move us to ponder the mystery of today’s feast:  God’s penchant for the smallest of details arranged that the mother of Jesus should be a particular woman, born in a particular place, to two particular parents, at a particular time. 

All of these details lead us to marvel at the possibility that God may reverence and even delight in the smallest details of our lives.  Perhaps because of our “bigger is better” prejudice, we too easily reject out of hand this possibility. We may imagine that God is aware of our littleness, but the suggestion that he might actually have an interest in and want involvement with that littleness challenges us. 

Today’s feast presents a wonderful opportunity to ask Mary’s intercession to help us come to a greater humility, a humility that recognizes our tendency to make God too small.  Only a great God can find delight in the smallness of my life—and that of billions of others as well. 

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