Monday, December 9, 2013

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

(Genesis 3:9-15.29; Ephesians 1:3-6.11-12; Luke 1:26-38) 

The gardener held up his trophy.  It was the head of a cobra, the most dreaded snake in his country.  He had severed it while cutting grass with his scythe.  One swoop, done almost by reflex, undid the serpent before it could strike with deadly venom. Once again, the manifest truth of the reading from Genesis today is demonstrated.

The passage stating that a man will strike a serpent’s head while it can only assault a man’s heal intends to give the origin of both the snake’s legless anatomy and the human propensity to cut off its head.  Cutting off a snake's tail would not remove its threat, and its heart is difficult to locate. The surest way to decommission a serpent is to decapitate it.  The reading, however, hints at a deeper meaning than human-serpentine rivalry.  Read from a Christian perspective, it foreshadows how Mary's son, Jesus, will effectively defeat evil by dying on the cross and rising from the dead.  

This implication may sound whimsical as sin is experienced as ubiquitous as dust in a windstorm.  Yet with the fortitude of Jesus’ cross and in the light of his resurrection we can identify evil, ward it off, and root it out.  Mary's Immaculate Conception speaks of the specialness of Christ.  Born of one preserved from all sin, he has enabled us to overcome sin's effect in our lives.