Today, sadly is a day, a feast that has become confusing and controversial for some. Because this feast is so close to Christmas and the Gospel we just heard, some confuse the Immaculate Conception of Mary with the conception or the birth of Jesus. Some don’t like its focus on Mary or that she shouldn’t be thought to be “special” in any way. (To those people, I know how I feel about my mother and you don’t rate too high in my book if you don’t think she’s special… so all I can say is good luck taking Jesus on if you want to say His Mother Mary isn’t special or denigrate her, but I digress…)
What’s amazing to me is how many supposed God-loving, Christ-loving people could also diminish God. To say that what we celebrate, that Mary would be spared of the stain of Original Sin by God isn’t possible. Or even more absurd that saying God the Father did this special thing for the Mother of His Son, that somehow that’s unscriptural. The whole of scriptures tells us how God cannot be put into a box. God is God. He does all things for the good of His creation. Mary’s being free of original sin is one more example of the greatness of God. That’s why we can sing what’s called her song in the Gospel of Luke how “Holy is His name, through all generations…”
All Christians believe that the Trinitarian, three-personed God, desired to save humanity from the power of Sin and Death. And so the Son, Jesus would take flesh. In order for that to happen, in a human way, God utilizes the cooperation of a woman. A woman who could conceive and give birth to our Savior. A woman who was, as the Gospel tells us, already “Full of Grace.” She was like the first woman created without Original Sin – Eve, and have the opportunity to make a choice… Mary said Yes to God (unlike Eve who in sinning said “No” to Him)
So we celebrate that Mary was given the gift of the redemption her Son would bring to all of humanity as Mary was conceived in her mother’s womb.
What a beautiful gift our Father has given to us, that in addition to her role in bringing Jesus into the world, Jesus gave her to all of us so that we have another Mother to turn to, to talk to, to listen to. And she is completely centered and focused on Jesus and desires to help us grow in our love of Him. She tells us by her example that God has a plan, a mission for each one of us. She knows from her own life story how God can do things in people’s lives that they cannot even imagine if they only have faith and courage to say Yes to Him. She is a true Mother who teaches us, guides us to know that the only way to find fullness of joy in this life is by having a heart completely centered on Jesus Christ and surrendering ourselves in following Him.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.