Friday, November 20, 2009

NOVEMBER 21 THE PRESENTATION OF THE VIRGIN MARY

“The Presentation of Mary”
 by Denys Calvaert, c. 1570 
NOVEMBER 21

THE PRESENTATION OF THE VIRGIN MARY
MEMORIAL
 

Additional Information about the
Memorial of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary[1]

Readings for the Memorial of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary

Readings and Commentary:
[2]

FIRST READING
 
Zechariah 2:14-17

Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion!
See, I am coming to dwell among you, says the LORD.
Many nations shall join themselves to the LORD on that day,
and they shall be his people,
and he will dwell among you,
and you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you.
The LORD will possess Judah as his portion in the holy land,
and he will again choose Jerusalem.
Silence, all mankind, in the presence of the LORD!
He stirs forth from his holy dwelling.
 

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Commentary on
Zec 2:14-17

This selection from the Book of the Prophet Zechariah is seen as predicting the coming of the Messiah. It provides a rather unique glimpse at the messianic expectation: He comes to unify and bring security to the faithful. This passage also demonstrates the “true man, true God” essence of the Lord by first saying, “I am coming to dwell among you,” followed by, “Silence, all mankind, in the presence of the Lord! For he stirs forth from his holy dwelling.


CCC: Zec 2:14 722; Zec 2:17 2143
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RESPONSORIAL PSALM
 
Luke 1:46-47, 48-49, 50-51, 52-53, 54-55

R. (49) The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.
or:
R. O Blessed Virgin Mary, you carried the Son of the eternal Father.


"My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God roy Savior."
 

R. The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.
or:
R. O Blessed Virgin Mary, you carried the Son of the eternal Father.

 
"For he has looked upon his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name."
 

R. The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.
or:
R. O Blessed Virgin Mary, you carried the Son of the eternal Father.

 
"He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit."
 

R. The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.
or:
R. O Blessed Virgin Mary, you carried the Son of the eternal Father.

 
"He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty."
 

R. The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.
or:
R. O Blessed Virgin Mary, you carried the Son of the eternal Father.

 
"He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children forever."
 

R. The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.
or:
R. O Blessed Virgin Mary, you carried the Son of the eternal Father.

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Commentary on
Lk 1:46-47, 48-49, 50-51, 52-53, 54-55

The responsorial is the Magnificat, the beautiful Canticle of Mary. Her song of thanksgiving and humility captures the saintliness that has become synonymous with our image of Mary the Mother of God, the Queen of Heaven, and the Mother of the Church. In her dedication to service, she offers herself to God as vessel of the Messiah. She sets the stage for the humble birth of Jesus.


CCC: Lk 1:46-55 722, 2619, 2675; Lk 1:46-49 2097; Lk 1:48 148, 971, 2676, 2676; Lk 1:49 273, 2599, 2807, 2827; Lk 1:50 2465; Lk 1:54-55 706; Lk 1:55 422
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GOSPEL
 
Matthew 12:46-50

While Jesus was speaking to the crowds,
his mother and his brothers appeared outside,
wishing to speak with him.
Someone told him, "Your mother and your brothers are standing outside,
asking to speak with you."
But he said in reply to the one who told him,
"Who is my mother?
Who are my brothers?"
And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said,
"Here are my mother and my brothers.
For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father
is my brother, and sister, and mother."
 

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Commentary on
Mt 12:46-50


In this selection from St. Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus emphasizes the importance of the family of faith over the biological family. It is likely a parallel to the situation found in Mark 3:21. It is important to note that the Catholic Church holds that Mary bore only one child, Jesus. The reference in this passage to “…your brothers” (the word “brethren” is used in most other translations) refers to kinsmen, other relatives of the Blessed Mother and St. Joseph. Similarly, other scriptural references to Jesus’ relatives find this same interpretation issue. The Aramaic term for brother/sister referred to relationships within the extended family (see notes on Mark 3:31ff). In apocryphal literature, specifically the History of Joseph the Carpenter, it is indicated that Mary was Joseph’s second wife, his first having died previously.  From this union, the document explains, Joseph had four sons and two daughters; Judas, Justus, James, and Simon. The names of the two daughters were Assia and Lydia. This is one more possibility driving the language of the Gospel.

In Galatians 1:19 we find: “But I did not see any other of the apostles, only James the brother of the Lord.” “James the brother of the Lord: not one of the Twelve, but a brother of Jesus (see note on Mark 6:3). He played an important role in the Jerusalem church (see note on Galatians 2:9), the leadership of which he took over from Peter (Acts 12:17). Paul may have regarded James as an apostle.”[3]

To further support this point, logic tells us that if Mary had other biological children, Jesus would not have entrusted her to St. John as he hung upon the cross. (John 19:26-27)

Jesus’ initial indication that the disciples are his family is clarified by the statement: “…whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother." Through his acceptance of the will of God, Jesus provides a natural continuation of our adoptive status as his brothers and sisters (Romans 8:29 ; 1 John 3:1).

CCC: Mt 12:49 764, 2233
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Reflection:

 
I borrow my reflection today from St. Augustine of Hippo.

Stretching out his hand over his disciples, the Lord Christ declared: Here are my mother and my brothers, anyone who does the will of my Father who sent me is my brother and my sister and my mother. I would urge you to ponder these words. Did the Virgin Mary, who believed by faith and conceived by faith, who was the chosen one from whom our Savior was born among men, who was created by Christ before Christ was created in her--did she not do the will of the Father? Indeed the blessed Mary certainly did the Father's will, and so it was for her a greater thing to have been Christ's disciple than to have been his mother, and she was more blessed in her discipleship than in her motherhood. Hers was the happiness of first bearing in her womb him whom she would obey as her master.

Now listen and see if the words of Scripture do not agree with what I have said. The Lord was passing by and crowds were following him. His miracles gave proof of divine power, and a woman cried out: Happy is the womb that bore you, blessed is that womb! But the Lord, not wishing people to seek happiness in a purely physical relationship, replied: More blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it. Mary heard God's word and kept it, and so she is blessed. She kept God's truth in her mind, a nobler thing than carrying his body in her womb.

The truth and the body were both Christ: he was kept in Mary's mind insofar as he is truth, he was carried in her womb insofar as he is man; but what is kept in the mind is of a higher order than what is carried in the womb.
(Sermo 25, 7-8: PL 46, 937-938)

From the very beginning Mother Mary was dedicated to God as his maid-servant. Today we celebrate the occasion of her presentation at the temple – entrusted to God by her parents Sts. Anne and Joachim. At the proper time, she would say yes to the Archangel Gabriel and conceive the Savior of the World.

On the day of her presentation, we ask in a special way for her intercession with faith, that whatever the Queen of Heaven asks will quickly find the ears of her Son our loving Savior.

Pax


[1] The picture is “The Presentation of Mary” by Denys Calvaert, c. 1570 
[2] Text of Readings is taken from the New American Bible, Copyright © Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Excerpts from the English translation of The Roman Missal © 1973, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved.
[3] See NAB footnote on Galatians 1:19

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