December 8, 2014

Immaculate Conception

December 8, 2014:  Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Patroness of the USA

  • 'Tree' pin:  The man ate from the tree (1st reading)
  • 'Apple' pin:  forbidden fruit (1st reading)
  • 'Question mark' tie pin:  God asked, “Where are you?” “Who told you you were naked?” “Why'd you do it?”... (1st reading)
  • 'Serpent' tie pin: "...The serpent tricked me" (1st reading)
  • "Star" tie pin:  Mary as woman with crown of 12 stars (cf. Rev 12:1) (feast)
  • Blue and white shirt:  blue for the Blessed Mother, white for the day; see ordo.
  • Earth on tie:  All the earth has seen God's salvation (psalm)
  • 'Hand' tie pin:  God's hand won victory (psalm)
  • 'Angel' pin:  God sent Gabriel to Mary (gospel)
Listen

Pope Francis Angelus
Immaculate Conception:  everything is grace, a gift given freely by God who loves us.  Gabriel called Mary "full of grace" because she had no room for sin; God who chose her to be Jesus' mother preserved her from original sin.  Mary responded to this grace and abandoned herself:  "Let it be done to me according to your word."  We too are asked to listen to God and welcome his will. 
Mary's attitude shows us being comes before doing; we must let God make us what he wants us to be.  Mary is receptive, not passive; having received the Spirit's power, she gave flesh and blood to the Son of God formed in her.
As we've received for free, so are we give like Mary, who immediately went to share with Elizabeth.  Let the Spirit make you a gift for others, an instrument of acceptance, reconciliation, and forgiveness.
Read
  • Gn 3:9-15, 20  Adam/God:  “I was naked so hid myself.” / “You ate the forbidden fruit!” / “The woman you put with me gave it to me.” God / Eve:  “Why?” / “The serpent tricked me.”  “Serpent, I'll make you and the woman enemies...”  Eve became mother of all the living.
    Serpent and forbidden fruit
    from today's words
    (animate)
  • Ps 98:1-4  "Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds."  All have seen the Lord's salvation, justice, kindness, and faithfulness; sing joyfully!
  • Eph 1:3-6, 11-12  Praise God who blessed us, loved us, chose us before the world was founded to be holy, to be adopted, to praise his glory.
  • Lk 1:26-38  Gabriel/Mary:  “Hail, full of grace!  The Lord is with you.  Don't be afraid; you'll bear a son and name him Jesus.  He'll be King, Son of the Most High.”  “How?”  “The Holy Spirit and God's power...  The child will be the Son of God...  Your 'barren' cousin also conceived; nothing's impossible.”  “I'm the Lord's handmaid.  May it be done.”
    Reflect
    • Creighton:  Adam's fear drives him to hide himself from the One who created him, make excuses, and 'protect' himself instead of opening to love's vulnerability.  We know the fear of being exposed or hurt, that we won't have, or be, enough, that we'll never find a way back from our mistakes.  Fear colors our thinking and 'hides' our woundedness.  But Mary, troubled and afraid as she is, doesn't hide but waits.  God became flesh because Mary overcame her fear.  May I be “handmaid of the Lord.”
    • One Bread One Body:  Mary, Mother of God, needed to be spotless and immaculate to carry Jesus in her womb.  She received special grace for her role in our salvation and also foreshadows God's plan to make us all "holy and immaculate" (Eph 5:27).  May I like her say yes to a life of love for Jesus.
      Immaculate Conception
      Murillo
    • Passionist:  Unmarried mothers in Mary's time were stoned to death, and their families suffered, but she still said yes to Gabriel and throughout life.  Do I respond to God and live the Gospel no matter what?
    • DailyScripture.net:   God enriched Mary with gifts so she could fulfill her role.  "Mary's obedience untied the knot of Eve's disobedience; what Eve bound through her disbelief, Mary loosened by her faith" (St. Irenaeus).  Faith unlocks God's power in us; God gives us the grace to say yes to his will and transforming work.
    • Universalis:  Immaculate Conception = Mary was conceived without original sin, that twist in human nature that makes our will tend not to follow what it knows to be right. It enabled Mary to say yes to God's request through Gabriel that she consent to be mother of God in the flesh.  Muslims believe it too, though differently. See Catholic Encyclopedia and Wikipedia.
    Special greetings to and prayers for the communities at