Thursday, December 8, 2016

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)

Today’s reading from the Letter to the Ephesians tells of God’s plan to make us His people.  It says that we were chosen before the world was founded. But the drama of salvation begins in the first reading. Our ancestors are seen alienating themselves from God and one another.  The same alienation due to sin keeps us from being a united people under God today.

God’s plan has an unexpected agent.  In the gospel passage Mary is a young virgin whose nature has been uncorrupted by sin.  She is actually asked whether she wants to participate in the drama of salvation.  Will she allow herself to be the mother of God’s Son?  It may arouse suspicion of her virtue and even disgust from the self-exalted.  But as right-minded as she is, how can she refuse God’s request?  Her acceptance of the responsibility – “’May it be done to me according to your word’” -- leads to the coming of Jesus and our eventual adoption into God’s family.

Today is given to contemplating this mystery.  We should see Mary as not so different from us.  She is not hindered by selfishness, but we can limit that disgrace by regularly denying ourselves in favor of others.  More importantly, she is propelled by the love of God.  We too have a share in that love through our Baptism.  This is to say that we, similar to Mary, might be agents of a united humanity under God’s care.