December 8: SOLEMNITY OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
READINGS: Genesis 3:9-18,20/ Ephesians 1:3-6,11-12/ Luke 1:26-38
THEME: THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary means that she was conceived without any stain of sin by her mother (Anne). This unique grace was granted her by God as He had destined her to become the Mother of Jesus Christ, His sinless Son (cf. Luke 1:26-38).
Firstly, if despite our limited foresight, we generally prepare well for important events in our lives, then we should not be surprised that God, who has infinite foreknowledge, would prepare well for His Son’s coming into the world. As part of the preparation for the future birth of His sinless Son, God chose and consecrated Mother Mary from the very moment of her conception by her own mother (Anne). This accords with the testimony of the choice and consecration of the prophet Jeremiah: “the word of the Lord came to me saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations’” (Jer. 1:4-5).
Secondly, the consecration of Mary was moreover of a higher order than that of Jeremiah because she was given the highest human calling: to become the Mother of the Son of God and Saviour of the world. Now, if through genetic engineering scientists can eliminate an anticipated physical defect before a person is born, then God could do more than that. Hence, He kept the soul of Mother Mary free from any spiritual defects from the moment of her conception. That is, God, who foreknew her and could anticipate the merits of Jesus’ saving death and resurrection, applied beforehand the grace of justification to Mary (cf. Rom. 8:29-30), as He knitted her in her mother’s womb (cf. Psalm 139:13-17). Remember that “with God nothing is impossible” (Luke 1:37).
Furthermore, according to today’s second reading, before the creation of the world, it was in God’s design that humans would “be holy and without blemish” in Christ. Thus, we read: “Blessed be God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before Him” (Eph. 1:3- 4). Whereas, the original sin inherited from Adam and Eve (cf. Gen. 3:9-18,20) denies us of being “holy and without blemish” at conception, God granted Mother Mary the singular favour of being “holy and without blemish”, in accordance with His pre-creation plan.
When, therefore, the angel Gabriel addressed Mary saying, “Hail, full of grace!” (Luke 1:28), the messenger of God was proclaiming, among other things, the hidden truth that she was immaculate. For the fullness of grace means the fullness of God’s presence, and hence the absence of sin. In this way, the holy Son of God would have a holy Mother. Amen!
By Very Rev. Fr. John K. Louis