“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28)
Reflections on the readings for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (December 8, 2020): GN 3:9-15,20; PS 98:1,2-3,4; EPH 1:3-6,11-12; LK 1:26-38
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
The Blessed Virgin is actually closer to us and loves us more than any being besides the Holy Trinity.
Today the whole Church celebrates the beautiful Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Immaculate Conception. It commemorates the moment she was conceived in the womb of her mother St. Anne. By the power and grace of God, she came into being without original sin. Unlike any other human being, except for Jesus, her own Son and the Son of God, the soul of Mary was utterly preserved from the stain of sin that the rest of humanity has borne since the fall of Adam and Eve. Rather than separating her from the all of us who were conceived with original sin, the Blessed Virgin is actually closer to us and loves us more than any being besides the Holy Trinity. Sin causes estrangement between individuals and God, as well as between people. Mary has never, in a single moment of her life, experienced this separation. In the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary, she is called both “Queen conceived without original sin” and “Refuge of sinners.” She has a profound compassion for us and wants each person to be as close to God and to one another as He always desired us to be.
While the feast itself was only declared in the early 18th century, the doctrine was developed over the previous thousand years with the support of the faithful even without specific reference in Scriptures. Many embraced the idea of the Mother of God being absolutely pure every moment of her life even before the Church officially agreed. In the Gospel today, we hear about the Annunciation of Christ’s Incarnation to the Blessed Virgin and her response: “Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her” (Luke 1:38). With the agreement of Mary’s will with the will of God, the moment of His gift of salvation for all humankind was made real on earth. Let us thank Almighty God and His beloved daughter who said “Yes!” to opening herself body and soul to her Redeemer and ours.