Friday of the Seventeenth Week of Ordinary Time

+Matthew 13:54-58

A prophet is only despised in his own country

Coming to his home town, Jesus taught the people in their synagogue in such a way that they were astonished and said, ‘Where did the man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers? This is the carpenter’s son, surely? Is not his mother the woman called Mary, and his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Jude? His sisters, too, are they not all here with us? So where did the man get it all?’ And they would not accept him. But Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is only despised in his own country and in his own house’, and he did not work many miracles there because of their lack of faith.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

“Let it be done to me according to your word. . .”

494 At the announcement that she would give birth to “the Son of the Most High” without knowing man, by the power of the Holy Spirit, Mary responded with the obedience of faith, certain that “with God nothing will be impossible”: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be [done] to me according to your word.” Thus, giving her consent to God’s word, Mary becomes the mother of Jesus. Espousing the divine will for salvation wholeheartedly, without a single sin to restrain her, she gave herself entirely to the person and to the work of her Son; she did so in order to serve the mystery of redemption with him and dependent on him, by God’s grace:

As St. Irenaeus says, “Being obedient she became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race.” Hence not a few of the early Fathers gladly assert. . .: “The knot of Eve’s disobedience was untied by Mary’s obedience: what the virgin Eve bound through her disbelief, Mary loosened by her faith.” Comparing her with Eve, they call Mary “the Mother of the living” and frequently claim: “Death through Eve, life through Mary.”

Mary’s divine motherhood

495 Called in the Gospels “the mother of Jesus”, Mary is acclaimed by Elizabeth, at the prompting of the Spirit and even before the birth of her son, as “the mother of my Lord”. In fact, the One whom she conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, who truly became her Son according to the flesh, was none other than the Father’s eternal Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity. Hence the Church confesses that Mary is truly “Mother of God” (Theotokos).

Mary’s virginity

496 From the first formulations of her faith, the Church has confessed that Jesus was conceived solely by the power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary, affirming also the corporeal aspect of this event: Jesus was conceived “by the Holy Spirit without human seed”. The Fathers see in the virginal conception the sign that it truly was the Son of God who came in a humanity like our own. Thus St. Ignatius of Antioch at the beginning of the second century says:

You are firmly convinced about our Lord, who is truly of the race of David according to the flesh, Son of God according to the will and power of God, truly born of a virgin,. . . he was truly nailed to a tree for us in his flesh under Pontius Pilate. . . he truly suffered, as he is also truly risen.

497 The Gospel accounts understand the virginal conception of Jesus as a divine work that surpasses all human understanding and possibility: “That which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit”, said the angel to Joseph about Mary his fiancee. The Church sees here the fulfillment of the divine promise given through the prophet Isaiah: “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son.”

498 People are sometimes troubled by the silence of St. Mark’s Gospel and the New Testament Epistles about Jesus’ virginal conception. Some might wonder if we were merely dealing with legends or theological constructs not claiming to be history. To this we must respond: Faith in the virginal conception of Jesus met with the lively opposition, mockery or incomprehension of non-believers, Jews and pagans alike; so it could hardly have been motivated by pagan mythology or by some adaptation to the ideas of the age. The meaning of this event is accessible only to faith, which understands in it the “connection of these mysteries with one another” in the totality of Christ’s mysteries, from his Incarnation to his Passover. St. Ignatius of Antioch already bears witness to this connection: “Mary’s virginity and giving birth, and even the Lord’s death escaped the notice of the prince of this world: these three mysteries worthy of proclamation were accomplished in God’s silence.”

Mary – “ever-virgin”

499 The deepening of faith in the virginal motherhood led the Church to confess Mary’s real and perpetual virginity even in the act of giving birth to the Son of God made man. In fact, Christ’s birth “did not diminish his mother’s virginal integrity but sanctified it.” And so the liturgy of the Church celebrates Mary as Aeiparthenos, the “Ever-virgin”.

500 Against this doctrine the objection is sometimes raised that the Bible mentions brothers and sisters of Jesus. The Church has always understood these passages as not referring to other children of the Virgin Mary. In fact James and Joseph, “brothers of Jesus”, are the sons of another Mary, a disciple of Christ, whom St. Matthew significantly calls “the other Mary”. They are close relations of Jesus, according to an Old Testament expression.

501 Jesus is Mary’s only son, but her spiritual motherhood extends to all men whom indeed he came to save: “The Son whom she brought forth is he whom God placed as the first-born among many brethren, that is, the faithful in whose generation and formation she co-operates with a mother’s love.”

Mary’s virginal motherhood in God’s plan

502 The eyes of faith can discover in the context of the whole of Revelation the mysterious reasons why God in his saving plan wanted his Son to be born of a virgin. These reasons touch both on the person of Christ and his redemptive mission, and on the welcome Mary gave that mission on behalf of all men.

503 Mary’s virginity manifests God’s absolute initiative in the Incarnation. Jesus has only God as Father. “He was never estranged from the Father because of the human nature which he assumed. . . He is naturally Son of the Father as to his divinity and naturally son of his mother as to his humanity, but properly Son of the Father in both natures.”

504 Jesus is conceived by the Holy Spirit in the Virgin Mary’s womb because he is the New Adam, who inaugurates the new creation: “The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven.” From his conception, Christ’s humanity is filled with the Holy Spirit, for God “gives him the Spirit without measure.” From “his fullness” as the head of redeemed humanity “we have all received, grace upon grace.”

505 By his virginal conception, Jesus, the New Adam, ushers in the new birth of children adopted in the Holy Spirit through faith. “How can this be?” Participation in the divine life arises “not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God”. The acceptance of this life is virginal because it is entirely the Spirit’s gift to man. The spousal character of the human vocation in relation to God is fulfilled perfectly in Mary’s virginal motherhood.

506 Mary is a virgin because her virginity is the sign of her faith “unadulterated by any doubt”, and of her undivided gift of herself to God’s will. It is her faith that enables her to become the mother of the Savior: “Mary is more blessed because she embraces faith in Christ than because she conceives the flesh of Christ.”

507 At once virgin and mother, Mary is the symbol and the most perfect realization of the Church: “the Church indeed. . . by receiving the word of God in faith becomes herself a mother. By preaching and Baptism she brings forth sons, who are conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of God, to a new and immortal life. She herself is a virgin, who keeps in its entirety and purity the faith she pledged to her spouse.”

In Brief

508 From among the descendants of Eve, God chose the Virgin Mary to be the mother of his Son. “Full of grace”, Mary is “the most excellent fruit of redemption” (SC 103): from the first instant of her conception, she was totally preserved from the stain of original sin and she remained pure from all personal sin throughout her life.

509 Mary is truly “Mother of God” since she is the mother of the eternal Son of God made man, who is God himself.

510 Mary “remained a virgin in conceiving her Son, a virgin in giving birth to him, a virgin in carrying him, a virgin in nursing him at her breast, always a virgin” (St. Augustine, Serm. 186, 1: PL 38, 999): with her whole being she is “the handmaid of the Lord” (Lk 1:38).

511 The Virgin Mary “cooperated through free faith and obedience in human salvation” (LG 56). She uttered her yes “in the name of all human nature” (St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, 30, 1). By her obedience she became the new Eve, mother of the living.


Psalm 68(69):5,8-10,14

For the leader. A psalm of David; a song.

God will arise for battle; the enemy will be scattered; those who hate God will flee.

The wind will disperse them like smoke; as wax is melted by fire, so the wicked will perish before God.

Then the just will be glad; they will rejoice before God; they will celebrate with great joy.

Sing to God, praise the divine name; exalt the rider of the clouds. Rejoice before this God whose name is the LORD.

Father of the fatherless, defender of widows –  this is the God whose abode is holy,

Who gives a home to the forsaken, who leads prisoners out to prosperity, while rebels live in the desert.

God, when you went forth before your people, when you marched through the desert, Selah

The earth quaked, the heavens shook, before God, the One of Sinai, before God, the God of Israel.

You claimed a land as your own, O God;

your people settled there. There you poured abundant rains, God, graciously given to the poor in their need.

The Lord announced the news of victory:

“The kings and their armies are in desperate flight.

All you people so numerous,

will you stay by the sheepfolds?

  1. b) Every household will share the booty,
  2. b) perhaps a dove sheathed with silver,
  3. c) its wings covered with yellow gold.”

When the Almighty routed the kings there, the spoils were scattered like snow on Zalmon.

You high mountains of Bashan, you rugged mountains of Bashan,

You rugged mountains, why look with envy at the mountain where God has chosen to dwell, where the LORD resides forever?

God’s chariots were myriad, thousands upon thousands; from Sinai the Lord entered the holy place.

You went up to its lofty height; you took captives, received slaves as tribute. No rebels can live in the presence of God.

Blessed be the Lord day by day, God, our salvation, who carries us. Selah

Our God is a God who saves; escape from death is in the LORD God’s hands.

God will crush the skulls of the enemy, the hairy heads of those who walk in sin.

The Lord has said: “Even from Bashan I will fetch them, fetch them even from the depths of the sea.

You will wash your feet in your enemy’s blood; the tongues of your dogs will lap it up.”

Your procession comes into view, O God, your procession into the holy place, my God and king.

The singers go first, the harpists follow; in their midst girls sound the timbrels.

In your choirs, bless God; bless the LORD, you from Israel’s assemblies.

In the lead is Benjamin, few in number; there the princes of Judah, a large throng, the princes of Zebulun, the princes of Naphtali, too.

Summon again, O God, your power, the divine power you once showed for us.

Show it from your temple on behalf of Jerusalem, that kings may bring you tribute.

Roar at the wild beast of the reeds, the herd of mighty bulls, the lords of nations; scatter the nations that delight in war.

Exact rich tribute from lower Egypt, from upper Egypt, gold and silver; make Ethiopia extend its hands to God.

You kingdoms of the earth, sing to God; chant the praises of the Lord, Selah

Who rides the heights of the ancient heavens, whose voice is thunder, mighty thunder.

Confess the power of God, whose majesty protects Israel, whose power is in the sky.

Awesome is God in his holy place, the God of Israel, who gives power and strength to his people. Blessed be God!

Source: The New American Bible