The 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)
Persian carpets are among the finest on earth. A princely one used to take years to produce. Many tribe members contributed to the effort. But a Persian carpet was never made to be perfect. Because the makers believed that perfection was an attribute of God alone, they would create a flaw in the carpet’s composition. Something similar can be said of every human being. All have been conceived with sin. All but two, that is. Jesus, being the Son of God, was perfect from the start. Mary, his mother, was also conceived without sin in virtue of her being selected to bring Christ into the world.
The first reading relates part of the story of human sin. The primal man and woman disobey God and hide from him. When they are interrogated about the crime, it is revealed how they followed their animal instinct rather than the divine command given to them. Their sin was repeated in every human life until Mary’s. As the gospel today relates, by a special grace she resists the instinctual desire to flee the angel with the strange news. Indeed, she embraces the opportunity to do the Lord’s will.
Today we celebrate what God did in Mary and what God is doing in each of us through Jesus, Mary’s son. In baptismal faith we have been given the grace to reject base conniving. We can resist the animal instincts of promiscuous sex, domination, and covetousness. When we do, we will, like Mary, hear the words of the angel pronounced over us: “…you have found favor with God.”