Albert Einstein said: “If the bee disappeared off the face of the earth, man would only have four years left to live.” This is just an example of how roles could be different yet complementary. We are not going to ask some human beings to turn into bees in order to keep other humans alive nor are we going to ask bees to change into human beings. Everyone’s role is different but we all need each other.

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If you agree that Mary carried Jesus in her womb for nine months and went through labor pains to have him, I do not know of any mother that would not feel a thing while watching her innocent son go through all of these. Whatever our present sorrows in this life may be, let us be consoled that we have a mother who was no stranger to sorrow and reach out for our rosary in asking for her intercession.

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We are not celebrating Mary’s birthday because she was chosen by God. We are celebrating her birthday today because she accepted God’s plan for her life. She said “Yes” to God. Like Mary, God will do great things in you and for you if only you would say “Yes” to Him; if only you would walk according to His Commands and obey His Words.

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The words of Elizabeth to Mary define her uniqueness amongst everything that God ever created. “Blessed are you among women.” No woman can ever be more popular than Mary, no woman can ever rise to a more glorious position than Mary, and no woman’s name will ever be mentioned on the lips of millions and millions of generations upon generations to come like the name of Mary.

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In pain and disappointment, Mary and Martha buried Lazarus. It is not easy to speak of faith when we are faced with serious challenges; when prayers are not answered or when tragedies strike. When Mary and Martha were still mending their heart-aches, Jesus showed up. He asked Martha this question: “Do you believe?” Now imagine yourself in Martha’s shoes. what would your response be?

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There are countless blessings that come to us from being kind to strangers. Many have lost golden opportunities in life just because they refused to help when they came across people with genuine needs. Our help, however, must not be forced, pretentious, nor come from a bitter heart. The story of Mary and Martha has often been explained in terms of the two types of spirituality (the active versus the contemplative) but beyond that, Jesus used this occasion to highlight the dangers of distraction and anxiety. Only one thing is needed: Seek first the Kingdom of God!

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Mary had a PURE heart. It is as a result of Mary’s outstanding sinlessness that we refer to her heart as IMMACULATE. It was this purity of heart that made God so fall in love with her as to choose her to be his mother. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gave us a secret; “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8). Only a heart so pure can contain God as Mary did. As we reflect on Mary’s Immaculate Heart, let us look at our own hearts. Is my heart like that of Mary? What efforts am I making to guard my heart against all defilements of evil?

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When you seek first God’s Kingdom and prioritize righteousness, you may not become rich and famous in the eyes of the world but Jesus says you will find true inner satisfaction and peace. When you mourn over the sinfulness and evil pervading our world and refuse to be indifferent, Jesus says you will find true comfort.

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As soon as Mary heard, she immediately put herself in Elizabeth’s shoes, she knew the old woman needed help and she ran as fast as she could to volunteer. She forgot herself, she didn’t consider that she had just become the Mother of God and was carrying the King of Kings in her womb, she ran to become a servant, a slave, an errand girl to Elizabeth. Mary was with Elizabeth for three months meaning she remained till Elizabeth delivered her baby before returning back home. If not for the fact that Mary herself was also pregnant, I am sure she would have stayed longer. Let us not be bothered with our own problems that we become blind and deaf to the cries of people around us. Learn to put yourself in other people’s shoes. Learn from Mary to humble yourself and come to the aid of people. Begin to visit people today.

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Today we celebrate the fact that Mary intercedes for Africa. When Herod sought to kill the baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph took shelter in Africa. At a time when our continent is faced with turmoil, suffering under the yoke of neo-colonialism, we need Mother Mary’s intercession more than ever.

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Watch out for any form of hatred in your heart. Why do you hate your fellow human being? Is it because of what they did to you or just because they are more popular than you? Could it be because this person is better than you in your workplace or business environment? Rather than trying to bring this person down by all means, why not go to him or her like Nicodemus to learn, why not go and ask them how they are able to do better than you? If they tell you, would you be willing to do it?

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Mary is that Virgin Isaiah spoke of as a sign to the people of Israel that God has finally sent them the Saviour they have been expecting. Mary’s Yes to God earned her the exalted title of “Ark of the covenant.” The first Ark contained the two stone tablets God gave to Moses on Mount Sinai while the second is Mary who carried Jesus in her womb for nine months. Just as no one could accuse the Israelites of idolatry in their treatment of the Ark, no one can accuse Christians today of idolatry for honouring the Blessed Virgin Mary.

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