St Michael and All Angels

Observatory, Cape Town

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Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary : Fr Tony Hogg

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 Today we celebrate The Nativity of The Blessed Virgin Mary, a date 
we all know has no bibilical reference, but we know that she was 
born from the womb of St. Anne, without any taints of sin just as she
 had been conceived without sin. This then is a day when we rejoice 
because the Mother of our Lord and Saviour has been born to us.
It is also it seems to me a day to focus our partnership around God. 
Mary in her life has free choice, like us -it is she that makes the 
choice to say 'yes' to God. Out of this 'yes', this response, comes a 
birth which is also a birth -giving, an act of liberation which 
changes and renews, and transforms. This is a model for our 
relationship and partnership with God. Like Mary, we too wait upon 
God and by God's grace respond with our 'yes'. 
Our response to God is at the heart of what it means to be the 
Church. Renewal, hope, growth, love, worship depend upon our 
entering into the mystery and pleasure of God as Mary did. It would 
be a sad day if we look at ourselves and see that we are not open to 
God and our lives not transformed by worship, by the unity we get 
with uplifted hands at the altar. We can put any distractions aside so 
we like Mary are free in our decisions, free to respond to the gift of 
God if we wait and say 'yes' in love and faith and worship.
I would suggest that our other consideration on this Feast Day of 
Mary is to look at her song,the Magnificat. This tells us that what 
Mary shares with us is not limited to individuals - rather it extends 
universally to the poor, the hungry, the humbled, the lost. A question 
is then raised; does God love the poor and rich alike? The partial 
answer from Mary's song is 'no'. God is on the side of the poor and 
oppressed. What does this mean for us here at St. Michael's and who 
indeed are the poor and oppressed of today?
It is a challenge for us all, and there are no easy answers to the 
difficulties we all may have in living with the inequality and injustice 
in our world. We see that in the Magnificat where God breaks the 
power of the mighty and gives strength to the feeble.
Much of the answer takes us back to Mary's gift of faith in her saying 
'yes', her letting go and letting be. She trusted. She allowed her son 
to grow up free from control. She watched him suffer and die. Her 
'yes' allowed him to be. So for us here living out our earthly vision of 
Mary and the earthly realities of our lives means that we have our 
'yes', our vision of God, our being together at mass and our 
journeying together should allow others to be truly themselves. This 
wonderful place will continue to be a welcoming place, regardless of 
age, sex, race and we all leave any prejudices we may have on the 
door mat as we enter. That will mean that all of us here, following 
the example of Mary, the Mother of God, and our Mother, can feel 
healed, accepted, loved , transformed and liberated. 
On her Nativity we give thanks to God for Mary. We ask for a 
deepening of our dependence upon God and our partnership 
together with him. That will mean that with the example of Mary's 
song we can all be free to be ourselves in the light of God's love, to 
say 'yes' to him and 'yes' to one another. 
It is therefore only proper that we should today commemmorate the 
Nativity of The Blessed Virgin Mary, and in so doing give thanks for 
her devoted motherhood of Jesus, and for in being our intercessor so 
that we can say with confidence, "Blessed art thou among women, 
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus." Amen


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