Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

ImmaculateConception

Gospel: Luke 1: 26-38

The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.

Reflection

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. We reflect on the immeasurable gift that our Blessed Mother gave all of humanity when she said “Yes” to God, to be the mother of the Messiah, and the courage it took to accept her call.

Mary was a person conceived and born without original sin, so she was born into a state of sanctifying grace. That grace extended over her whole lifetime as she never gave in to sin. Growing up as a child in Mary’s time, there had to be many temptations, yet, Mary lived a life of work and prayer and faith in God.

We too are called by God. We have opportunities to say yes as Mary did. Although, for most of us, the circumstances are not as dramatic, they still help us to live as a viable part of the Body of Christ and to grow in grace. When we show compassion to the people around us whether at home, work or community, we say yes. When we serve the hungry and the poor who are the least of our brothers and sisters in Christ, we say yes. When we pray daily and give witness to a peaceful and just world, we say yes to God.
Some of these tasks are easy to say yes to and some are difficult. As we discern our answers, we should think back on our Blessed Mother and her courage as an example, and know that the graces we will receive are worth the cost.

– Dcn. Donald Simon

Action Step

God constantly presents us with many opportunities to participate in His divine plan.  Have you said “yes” recently to God’s invitation?  If not, what held you back and what could you have done better?