THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
(Patronal Feastday of the United States of America)
SOLEMNITY (Holyday of Obligation)
Saturday, December 8, 2018 (Lec. 689)
1) Genesis 3:9-15, 20
2) Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12
3) Luke 1:26-38
Gospel related: CCC 64, 148, 269, 273, 276, 332, 430, 437, 484, 486, 488, 490, 491, 494, 497, 505, 510, 559, 697, 706, 709, 723, 2571, 2617, 2677, 2812, 2827, 2856; CSDC 59
FOCUS: You have found favor with God.
Today, the Universal Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception – the fact that Saint Anne and Saint Joachim conceived Mary without the stain of original sin (St. Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus, 1854). She was redeemed from the moment of her conception (CCC 491). Today’s Gospel reading reminds us of why this was so – she was to be the Mother of God. The angel Gabriel announces her role in God’s plan of salvation: this spotless Virgin was to bear the Son of God and she was to call him Jesus – “God saves.”
This poor, young woman from Nazareth had such faith in the plan of God that she said “yes.” Unlike Adam and Eve, Mary was not blinded by the allure of earthly things, nor the trickery of evil, nor the promptings of other humans. She simply responded, Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done unto me according to your word. God found in her the acceptance that he had awaited from the beginning. “Without a single sin to restrain her, she gave herself entirely to the person and to the work of her Son” (CCC 494).
What can we learn from Mary? While none of us is perfect like she was perfect, we can certainly see in Mary the model of humility and obedience. Perhaps, in this Advent season, we can focus on God’s plan of salvation and less on the trappings of material things. Perhaps we could better appreciate that we, too, have found favor with God. For the Child which Mary carried in her womb came to redeem each of us and all of us – Christ has saved us, and Christ’s grace continues to sustain us. Mary’s Son would be called holy, the Son of God. He has given us a share in his divine life so that we, too, may be holy.
Paul reminds us of this in the second reading: God … 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. In love he destined us for adoption through Jesus Christ … so that we might exist for the praise of his glory.
Can we live up to this? Can we recognize that God has chosen us, too? Can we live a life of holiness? Let us turn to God in prayer and seek to know his plan for us. Let us not hesitate to listen to his answer, because nothing will be impossible for God.
* * *
On this day we pray for all those people who are fighting in, or are affected by war.
Let us pray that one day we can all find peace in our hearts.
Fill our souls with love and friendship and guide us in our journey towards togetherness.
“Give Me Love, (Give Me Peace On Earth)” (Lyrics) GEORGE HARRISON ॐ Live In Japan:
Empty before your God.
Let your God look upon you.
That is all.
God loves you with an enormous love.
God only wants to look upon you with his love.
Be Still And Know – Hillsong:
The 1996 Olympics were held in Atlanta, Georgia, in the United States. One of the most memorable parts of the Opening Ceremony was that of Mohammed Ali lighting the Olympic Flame. Ali had been the greatest boxer in the world, but then developed Parkinson’s Disease. At the Opening Ceremony he was seen by millions of people world-wide, uncontrollably shaking because of the disease. His willingness to appear seemed to convey to many people the true spirit and courage of “the Olympic dream”. He was later awarded an honorary gold medal. On this day at those Games in Atlanta in 1996, 18 year-old Kerry Strug was determined to help win an Olympic gold medal for her gymnast team. She had a twisted ankle but still wanted to perform he vault, so as not to let the others down, As she landed, she collapsed in pain, but she was remembered for struggling with her difficulty to achieve the gold medal for her team.
Let us pray:
We pray, Lord, for all who will need strength and courage today:
– for those who are seriously ill;
– for those who are in desperate situations and see no hope of anything different;
– for those who find it difficult to face others or themselves;
– for those in pain from illness or mistreatment or torture;
– for those who know that others depend on them.
For all these people we ask for the power of your Spirit in their lives.