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Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
Genesis 3:9-15, 20
Psalm 98:1 , 2-3a,b, 3c,d-4
Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12
Luke 1:26-38
The readings begin with the classic story in Genesis, of the discovery by God that
Adam and Eve had eaten the apple in the Garden of Eden, after Eve is tempted
by the serpent. They are banished from the Garden, and the serpent is punished.
The second reading is Paul˅s letter to Ephesians, wherein we are told we are
blessed and chosen by God. The Gospel then lightens our celebration with the
Annunciation, where Mary is visited by the archangel Gabriel, and she is told that
she will bear the Savior of the World.
What a beautiful, full circle this is! To put it simply, it starts with our shame,
moves to our forgiveness, and then we are given the ultimate gift of the Lord˅s
son, who is to forgive us, heal us, and cleanse us from our sin forever. The
thought of this kind of blessing is somewhat overwhelming.
Throughout these readings, we are told that as God˅s children, there is nothing
we can do to separate us from him forever, even if we disobey him. His forgive-
ness is never ending. This is not to say that we should be forever pushing the
envelope! But it does give us tremendous grace in our times of weakness, and
certainly it is the basis of all hope for the best life we can possibly lead.
Focus on Mary, who actually led the best life anyone can lead. Born without sin,
and protected from sin by God, Mary made the choices of a woman who had free
will, and who also trusted in God completely. This trust is demonstrated by her
acceptance of her pregnancy, without ˈknowing
man.ˉ In this, she is a perfect symbol of God˅s
grace, and our hope. Her adult life began with
something that could have shamed her forever,
and yet she accepted it and drew her strength
from her faith and love in God.