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Making Room

September 8, 2020   Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Lectionary: 636)

Reading 1   MI 5:1-4A

The LORD says:
You, Bethlehem-Ephrathah,
too small to be among the clans of Judah,
From you shall come forth for me
one who is to be ruler in Israel;
Whose origin is from of old,
from ancient times.
(Therefore the Lord will give them up, until the time
when she who is to give birth has borne,
And the rest of his brethren shall return
to the children of Israel.)
He shall stand firm and shepherd his flock
by the strength of the LORD,
in the majestic name of the LORD, his God;
And they shall remain, for now his greatness
shall reach to the ends of the earth;
he shall be peace.

Or

Rom 8:28-30

Brothers and sisters:
We know that all things work for good for those who love God,
who are called according to his purpose. 
For those he foreknew he also predestined
to be conformed to the image of his Son,
so that he might be the firstborn
among many brothers.
And those he predestined he also called;
and those he called he also justified;
and those he justified he also glorified.

Responsorial Psalm   PS 13:6AB, 6C

R. (Isaiah 61:10)  With delight I rejoice in the Lord.
Though I trusted in your mercy,
let my heart rejoice in your salvation.
R. With delight I rejoice in the Lord.
Let me sing of the LORD, “He has been good to me.”
R. With delight I rejoice in the Lord.

Alleluia 

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, holy Virgin Mary, deserving of all praise;
from you rose the sun of Justice, Christ our God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

The Book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ,
the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Abraham became the father of Isaac,
Isaac the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers.
Judah became the father of Perez and Zerah,
whose mother was Tamar.
Perez became the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram,
Ram the father of Amminadab.
Amminadab became the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
Salmon the father of Boaz,
whose mother was Rahab.
Boaz became the father of Obed,
whose mother was Ruth.
Obed became the father of Jesse,
Jesse the father of David the king.

David became the father of Solomon,
whose mother had been the wife of Uriah.
Solomon became the father of Rehoboam,
Rehoboam the father of Abijah,
Abijah the father of Asaph.
Asaph became the father of Jehoshaphat,
Jehoshaphat the father of Joram,
Joram the father of Uzziah.
Uzziah became the father of Jotham,
Jotham the father of Ahaz,
Ahaz the father of Hezekiah.
Hezekiah became the father of Manasseh,
Manasseh the father of Amos,
Amos the father of Josiah.
Josiah became the father of Jechoniah and his brothers
at the time of the Babylonian exile.

After the Babylonian exile,
Jechoniah became the father of Shealtiel,
Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
Zerubbabel the father of Abiud.
Abiud became the father of Eliakim,
Eliakim the father of Azor,
Azor the father of Zadok.
Zadok became the father of Achim,
Achim the father of Eliud,
Eliud the father of Eleazar.
Eleazar became the father of Matthan,
Matthan the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary.
Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ.

Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. 
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together,
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame,
decided to divorce her quietly.
Such was his intention when, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
“Joseph, son of David,
do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.
For it is through the Holy Spirit
that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins.”
All this took place to fulfill
what the Lord had said through the prophet:

Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,

which means “God is with us.” 

or

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together,
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame,
decided to divorce her quietly.
Such was his intention when, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
“Joseph, son of David,
do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.
For it is through the Holy Spirit
that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins.”
All this took place to fulfill
what the Lord had said through the prophet:

Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,

which means “God is with us.”

By Michael Cabrera 

I would scroll mindlessly through what seemed like an infinite stream of images; images of people I knew and never met, images of people I admired and longed to be like. I posted images of myself, carefully curating everything, never revealing the messy brokenness of my reality. I knew very well that Instagram lacked authenticity, and that I was searching for something that was nowhere to be found on that app, yet I just continued to scroll and scroll and scroll. 

For an app filled with images, it’s quite ironic that Instagram left me confused and unsatisfied with my own image. I relished in the fleeting praise of likes and comments.

I would view the events of my life not as moments to be enjoyed, but moments to be posted. 

But as quarantine stripped away the distractions of life, I was forced to take a genuine look at who I am, at where I find my joy. Without the structure of life I inflict on myself, I came to terms with the innate desires - to be seen, known, and loved - that underlie all my actions. I felt a looming dissatisfaction with the identity I grasped for elsewhere, whether that was social media, school, or people. I brought up this void in my prayer.

I asked God what I could add to my life to make myself as happy as I was before quarantine.

But He revealed to me that it was not a question of what to add, but a calling to let go. In my dissatisfaction, He was revealing to me the mediocrity of the life I was pursuing. He was telling me that His love was already enough, that I really didn’t need any other identity that was not found in Him. He was calling me to be alone with Him, and truly just Him. 

Yet how could I be alone with Him, if I had so much noise readily available on my phone?

This desire He placed so intentionally on my heart led me to permanently delete my Instagram account, not because I believe social media is bad nor out of self-righteousness, but because I knew I could not cling to something that perpetuated the belief that my identity, my image, was anything less than beloved. I realized that placing my identity in anything other than being made in the image and likeness of Love would only leave me wanting more. 

In today’s reading, Paul says that we are, “to be conformed to the image of His Son.” Amidst all the noise, God revealed to me that in the massive slew of images I found on Instagram, I failed to find the one Image that really mattered. I know that Instagram is just one of many things taking up space in my identity, and perhaps life on this earth is just a continual process of making room in our aching hearts. But if I, in my smallness, can clear some space in my broken heart to be more conformed to this Love, then how could I not let go? 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Michael Cabrera is a current student at UC Berkeley and is active at the Newman Center, which is the Catholic center for the university. Originally from Southern California, Michael loves architecture, all things design, boba, making omelettes, and finding Beauty itself in every moment. 

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