For centuries, God had been promising his people a Savior, one who would “shepherd his flock” and whose greatness would “reach to the ends of the earth” (Micah 5:3). And over the generations, countless Jews waited, trusting that God’s promises would be fulfilled. That’s why the birth of Mary was such a momentous event: it signaled the era of fulfillment.
The Church has celebrated Mary’s birth since the sixth century, not only to honor her as the Mother of God but also to mark a unique moment in salvation history. As the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council put it: “After a long period of waiting, the times are fulfilled in her, the exalted Daughter of Zion, and the new plan of salvation is established” (On the Church, 55).
Today’s feast tells us that our God always keeps his promises. Both Mary and Joseph knew this truth. What a shocking message the angel Gabriel delivered when he told Mary that she, a virgin, was to bear God’s Son! She didn’t know how it would happen, yet she believed. And when Joseph learned in a dream that Mary’s child was conceived through the Holy Spirit, he too trusted God’s word and acted in faith by marrying her (Matthew 1:20-21). And neither of them was disappointed.
Today is a great day to rejoice in God’s faithfulness and love. It’s a day to celebrate that love as it was manifested in the Virgin Mary. We see that love, first of all, in her immaculate conception. But we also see it in every episode of her life. Naturally we want to honor her for saying yes to the angel at the annunciation. But that yes was the culmination of years of humble openness to the Lord. And for all those years we should rejoice and praise the Lord.
Today is also a great day to imitate Mary with our own yes to God. It’s a great day to tell him that we want to try our best to follow Mary’s example. We may not be perfectly sinless, but Christ still lives in us. Let’s honor him today by taking his own mother’s advice: “Do whatever he tells you” (John 2:5).
“Father, I trust in your faithfulness. Give me the grace to believe that you will fulfill all your promises in my life. Mary, Mother of God, pray for me to have the same trust that you did.”