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Home » Daily Readings

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Submitted by on Tuesday, 8 December 2009No Comment

imaclilies1

  • Reading I: Genesis 3:9-15.20
  • Resp. Psalm:  Psalm 98:1.2-3.3-4
  • Reading II:  Ephesians 1:3-6.11-12
  • Gospel Reading:  Luke 1:26-38

 

To Bernadette Soubiros, Our Lady introduced herself by saying “I am the Immaculate Conception.”  The peasant girl could not have known that nearly four years before this, Pius IX defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception:

We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful. (Ineffabilis Deus, 1854)

There are those who object to the idea that “Mary was preserved free from all stain of original sin in the first instance of her conception”, but they miss the other equally important idea: that she received this “by a special grace and privilege granted … in view of the merits of Jesus Christ.

“In view of the merits of Jesus Christ”.  Thus, even Mary was saved by the Lord.  God who sees the whole of salvation history only in the “Now” applied the new life Christ won on the cross to Mary, preserving her from the stain of Adam’s sin, so that she can be a worthy vessel for His Son.  A similar privilege is given to those who are baptized into Christ.  The difference is that Mary got hers as she was created by God in the womb of her mother.  The reading from Ephesians puts before us the mystery of predestination.  Every one who has received the gospel and continue to live in it faithfully have been chosen by God and predestined by Him to share in His glory.  The key idea here is in the Christian’s present fidelity and loyalty to the vocation to which he/she has been called.  For if signs of that fidelity are verifiable in him/her, then – according to Paul – God has chosen him, and has predestined him.  In that sense too, Mary has been chosen and predestined to be the mother of Jesus, the Son of God with the privileges it entails. 

The reading from Genesis on the other hand focuses on Genesis 3:15, the Proto-evangelion.  Mary will be the New Eve whose seed will crush the head of The Serpent.  The selection from Luke narrates how Mary becomes the Mother of the Redeemer.  Meditating on the name “Full of Grace” that the angel calls Mary, John Paul II writes:

In the language of the Bible "grace" means a special gift, which according to the New Testament has its source precisely in the Trinitarian life of God himself, God who is love (cf. 1 John 4:8). The fruit of this love is "the election" of which the Letter to the Ephesians speaks. On the part of God, this election is the eternal desire to save man through a sharing in his own life (cf. 2 Peter 1:4) in Christ: it is salvation through a sharing in supernatural life. The effect of this eternal gift, of this grace of man’s election by God, is like a seed of holiness, or a spring which rises in the soul as a gift from God himself, who through grace gives life and holiness to those who are chosen. In this way there is fulfilled, that is to say there comes about, that "blessing" of man "with every spiritual blessing," that "being his adopted sons and daughters…in Christ," in him who is eternally the "beloved Son" of the Father.

When we read that the messenger addresses Mary as "full of grace," the Gospel context, which mingles revelations and ancient promises, enables us to understand that among all the "spiritual blessings in Christ" this is a special "blessing." In the mystery of Christ she is present even "before the creation of the world," as the one whom the Father "has chosen" as Mother of his Son in the Incarnation.  (Mother of the Redeemer, 8)

Mary was conceived free from the stain of original sin in view of her Motherhood and the role she is going to play in salvation history as The Woman.  And she responded well to this election through her “Fiat”  — the commitment she verified until the Cross and beyond it.  She who gave her “Yes” to the angel was also the one who stood in agony beneath the Cross to receive from the New Adam a new mandate:  to be mother of all the redeemed.

Genesis 3:9-15
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg LXX Hebrew
9And the Lord God called Adam, and said to him: Where art thou?
10And he said: I heard thy voice in paradise; and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.
11And he said to him: And who hath told thee that thou wast naked, but that thou hast eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldst not eat?
12And Adam said: The woman, whom thou gavest me to be my companion, gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
13And the Lord God said to the woman: Why hast thou done this? And she answered: The serpent deceived me, and I did eat.
14And the Lord God said to the serpent: Because thou hast done this thing, thou art cursed among all cattle, and beasts of the earth: upon thy breast shalt thou go, and earth shalt thou eat all the days of thy life.
15I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.
Psalm 98:1
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.
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.
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.
Genesis 3:15
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg LXX Hebrew
15I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.
1 John 4:8
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
8He that loveth not, knoweth not God: for God is charity.
2 Peter 1:4
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
4By whom he hath given us most great and precious promises: that by these you may be made partakers of the divine nature: flying the corruption of that concupiscence which is in the world.

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