The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Genesis 3:9-15, 20
Psalm 98:1, 2-3ab, 3cd-4 (1a)
Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12
December 8, 2020
God is the creator of the world, the “maker of heaven and earth.”
What God created is good. God created in six days, resting on the seventh.
As God created, each day He looked at what He had created and “saw that it was good.” That is, until He created humankind. Then, “God looked at everything he had made, and found it very good” (Genesis 1:31).
Human beings are fundamentally good, created in the image (see Genesis 1:27).
Then what happened?
Sin entered the world.
The serpent came and tricked Adam and Eve. Instead of listening to God, they listened to Satan. They sinned. This is Original Sin. For their sin, Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden. Eve became “the mother of all the living.”
Sin continued in the world. Unfortunately, we too are sinners. We have all been created fundamentally good but Satan continues to trick us into sin.
God created the world good. He created us good. God created us “to be holy and without blemish.”
Yet God knew humans would sin. He created us anyway. Amazing! Yet, is this not what parents do? Parents have children to love them, hoping the best for them. Yet, they know their children will not always do as they wish. They choose to have children despite knowing this. Parents do so out of love.
God knew we would sin. Yet, He chose to create us anyway because He loves us.
God always had a plan on how to do with sin. He would send his Son Jesus to redeem us. Jesus comes to die for us on the Cross.
At his first coming, Jesus did not come in glory and power. He came as a little child. He conceived in his mother’s womb. He grew in his mother’s womb, and born like us. He experienced life as we do. He experienced temptation but He did not sin. He remained the unblemished lamb, sacrificed for our sins.
God knew what He would do all along. In today’s gospel we hear of the beginning of a new stage in God’s plan for our salvation.
The angel Gabriel comes to Mary, greeting her, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” Gabriel tells Mary she will conceive Jesus in her womb. Mary wonders, “How can this be,” but ultimately she says, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”
Mary says yes to God.
The story we hear in this gospel involves Jesus’ conception. He was conceived without sin but it is not his conception that we celebrate today.
Today is the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Today is about Mary’s conception.
God always knew Mary would say yes. To be worthy to carry Jesus in her womb, she needed to be without sin. So, when Mary was conceived in the womb of her mother, Anne, God saw that she was conceived without sin. This is the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
God does this with “prevenient grace.” We call it “prevenient” because God gives this grace of being conceived without sin before Mary says yes. He does it in anticipation of her “yes.”
Good things happen when we say yes to God.
Mary’s “yes” marks a new beginning. Eve had “become the mother of all the living” from the days of the Original Sin, when she, in effect, said no to God.
Mary becomes mother of us all when she said yes to God.
We thank Mary for her “yes.” We ask God for the grace that we too may say yes to God.
We give thanks to God for the grace He gives us to make it possible for us to say yes.