Monday, December 8, 2014

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

(Genesis 3:9-15.20; Ephesians 1:3-6.11-12; Luke 1:26-38)

A recent article on sexting recently appeared in a leading national magazine.  Sexting is the sending of nude pictures of oneself via cellular telephones.  The article explained the prominence of the practice among American high schoolers.  Curiously, it showed no particular worry that it would lead to promiscuity, addiction, frustration, and divorce.  Rather the article mostly campaigned that sexting be decriminalized so that juveniles not be stigmatized the rest of their lives.  However, the article may provide some benefit to Catholic readers by giving them more reason to celebrate the Immaculate Conception.

Today’s feast highlights Jesus’ coming to free humanity of sin.  The first reading shows how sin began and continues to happen.  The second speaks of God’s plan to liberate humans from sin’s curse, and the gospel begins the drama of Jesus’ victory over sin.  Jesus eventually saves humans from their folly by his death on the cross which wins the grace to live temperate lives.  By virtue of her crucial role in the story, Mary herself was conceived without any proclivity to sin.

We should see Mary as more than the instrumental cause of bringing Jesus to birth.  She dared to do God’s will at considerable cost to herself.  Modelling what it means to act on the word of God, she raised Jesus religiously along with St. Joseph.  Finally, she shared the pain of Jesus’ death by experiencing what every parent hopes to avoid – seeing their children die before them.