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Home » Daily Readings, Old Testament

The Immaculata

Submitted by on Monday, 8 December 2008No Comment
  • Reading I: Gn 3:9-15, 20
  • Resp. Psalm: Psalm 98:1,2-3ab, 3cd-4
  • Reading II:  Ephesians 1:3-6,11-12
  • Gospel Reading:  Luke 1:26-38

 

Immaculata and Children

Pius IX defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception thus:

The Blessed Virgin Mary "in the first instance of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace granted by God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race, was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin."  (Ineffabilis Deus, December 8, 1854)

Today’s liturgy puts the Genesis account of the Fall of Man and that of the Anunciation to the Virgin Mary (Luke 1:26-38) to focus on the Christological basis of Mary’s Immaculate Conception.  It was not due to Mary that she was immaculately conceived but it was done in view of man’s salvation in Christ.  The dogmatic formula itself gives due emphasis on the merits of Christ — not that of Mary — for that singular grace given to her who is to become the Mother of redeemed humanity.

The selection from Paul — Ephesians 1:3-6.11-12 — should be read with attention to these lines:

Blessed be the 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.

This selection actually places before us the immaculate conception of Mary as the blueprint for the whole Church.  The members of the Body of Christ are meant to be like her — spotless and without blemish.  For isn’t the Church meant to be the Bride of the Lamb?

It is providential that the Solemnity of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception should fall at a time when the Church is in the season of Advent.  First, it points our attention to the birth of the Lord which was made possible by the cooperation of Mary with the Divine Plan.  Second, it also points us to the Banquet of the Lamb to which we are invited daily in the Eucharist.  The Eucharist that we receive is a foretaste of that Banquet where the Lord is finally reunited with His Bride, the Church, in a new and endless covenant.

Finally, far from separating Mary from the lot of all humanity, the Immaculate Conception actually brings us closer to her.  She is the blueprint of the humanity recreated and reexpressed in Christ:  what she is is what every man and woman is called to become with the help of God’s grace. 1

Psalm 98:1,2-3
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg LXX Hebrew
1A psalm for David himself. Sing ye to the Lord anew canticle: because he hath done wonderful things. His right hand hath wrought for him salvation, and his arm is holy.
2The Lord hath made known his salvation: he hath revealed his justice in the sight of the Gentiles.
3He hath remembered his mercy his truth toward the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
Ephesians 1:3-6,11-12
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with spiritual blessings in heavenly places, in Christ:
4As he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and unspotted in his sight in charity.
5Who hath predestinated us unto the adoption of children through Jesus Christ unto himself: according to the purpose of his will:
6Unto the praise of the glory of his grace, in which he hath graced us in his beloved son.
11In whom we also are called by lot, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things according to the counsel of his will.
12That we may be unto the praise of his glory, we who before hoped Christ:
Luke 1:26-38
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
26And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth,
27To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
28And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
29Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be.
30And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God.
31Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus.
32He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever.
33And of his kingdom there shall be no end.
34And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man?
35And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
36And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren:
37Because no word shall be impossible with God.
38And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
Luke 1:26-38
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
26And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth,
27To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
28And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
29Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be.
30And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God.
31Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus.
32He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever.
33And of his kingdom there shall be no end.
34And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man?
35And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
36And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren:
37Because no word shall be impossible with God.
38And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
Ephesians 1:3-6
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with spiritual blessings in heavenly places, in Christ:
4As he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and unspotted in his sight in charity.
5Who hath predestinated us unto the adoption of children through Jesus Christ unto himself: according to the purpose of his will:
6Unto the praise of the glory of his grace, in which he hath graced us in his beloved son.

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  1. If this idea looks strange, it is because we have become accustomed to the idea that sin is of the nature of humanity.  It is not.  If it were, Christ would not have redeemed us from sin.  Man was not created for sin and, therefore, death (for the wages of sin is death). []

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