The nativity of the Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary, of the seed of Abraham, born from the tribe of Judah, from the line of King David. The Holy Theotokos was born of the elderly parents, Joachim of the lineage of David, and Anna of the lineage of Aaron. Therefore, Mary was of royal birth by her father, and of priestly birth by her mother, foreshadowing Him who would be born of her as King and High Priest. Because her parents were very old and had no children, they were ashamed before men and humble before God. In their humility they prayed to God to bring them joy in their old age by giving them a child. Mary was born in Nazareth and at the age of three was taken to the Temple in Jerusalem. In her young womanhood she returned to Nazareth and shortly thereafter heard the Annunciation of the Angel Gabriel concerning the birth of the Son of God from her most pure virgin body. From her, the Son of God was born in the flesh that he might free people from the ancient slavery of sin.
Your birth, O Virgin Theotokos, heralded joy to the universe; for from you arose the Sun of Justice, Christ our God. Removing the curse, He gave the blessing, and by destroying Death, He granted us eternal salvation.
At your holy birth, O Immaculate One, Joachim and Anna were freed from the reproach of childlessness and Adam and Eve from the corruption of death. Your people, delivered from the guilt of their faults, celebrate your birth and cry out: The barren woman gives birth to the Theotokos and Sustainer of our Life
Philippians 2: 5-11
Brothers and sisters: Your attitude must be that of Christ: Though he was in the form of God, he did not deem equality with God something to be grasped at. Rather, he emptied himself and took the form of a slave, being born in the likeness of men. He was known to be of human estate and it was thus that he humbled himself, obediently accepting even death, death on a cross! Because of this, God highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name above every other name, so that at Jesus’ name every knee must bend in the heavens, on the earth, and under the earth, and every tongue proclaim to the glory of God the Father: JESUS CHRIST IS LORD!
Luke 10: 38-42, 11: 27-28
At that time Jesus entered a village where a woman named Martha welcomed him to her home. She had a sister named Mary, who seated herself at the Lord’s feet and listened to his words. Martha, who was busy with all the details of hospitality, came to Jesus and said, “Lord, are you not concerned that my sister has left me to do the household tasks all alone? Tell her to help me.”
The Lord in reply said to her: “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and upset about many things; one thing only is required. Mary has chosen the better portion and she shall not be deprived of it.”
While he was saying this a woman from the crowd called out, “Blest is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you!” Jesus replied, “Rather, blest are they who hear the word of God and keep it.”
Galatians 4: 8-21
Brothers and sisters: In the past, when you didn’t not acknowledge God, you served as slaves to gods who are not really divine. Now that you have come to know God–or rather, have been known by him–how can you return to those powerless, worthless, natural elements to which you seem willing to enslave yourselves once more? You even go so far as to keep the ceremonial observance of days and months, seasons and years! I fear for you; all my efforts with you may have been wasted.
I beg you, brethren, to become like me as I became like you. (Understand, you have not done me any wrong.) You are aware that it was a bodily ailment that first occasioned my bringing you the gospel. My physical condition was a challenge which you did not despise or brush aside in disgust. On the contrary, you took me to yourselves as an angel of God, even as if I had been Christ Jesus! What has happened to your openhearted spirit? I can testify on your behalf that if it were possible you would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me. Have I become your enemy just because I tell you the truth?
The people I have referred to are not courting your favor in any generous spirit. What they really want is to exclude you so that you may court their favor. It would be well for you to be courted for the right reasons at all times, and not only when I happen to be with you. You are my children, and you put me back in labor pains until Christ is formed in you. If only I could be with you now and speak to you differently! You have me at a complete loss. You who want to be subject to the law, tell me: do you know what the law has to say?
Mark 6: 45-53
At that time Jesus insisted that his disciples get into a boat and precede him to the other side toward Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. When he had taken leave of them, he went off to the mountain to pray. As evening drew on, the boat was far out on the lake while he was alone on the land. Then, seeing them tossed about as they tried to row with the wind against them, he came walking toward them on the water; the time was between three and six in the morning. He meant to pass them by. When they saw him walking on the lake, they thought it was a ghost and they began to cry out. They had all seen him and were terrified. He hastened to reassure them: “Got hold of yourselves! It is I. Do not be afraid!” He got into the boat with them and the wind died down. They were taken aback by these happenings, for they had not understood about the loaves. On the contrary, their minds were completely closed to the meaning of the events. After making the crossing they came ashore at Gennesaret, and tied up there.
Thursday, September 7 –