Wednesday, December 07, 2005



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Dec 7, 2005

DECEMBER 8, 2005

GENESIS 3:9-15, 20
After the man, Adam, had eaten of the tree, the LORD God called to the man and asked him, "Where are you?" He answered, "I heard you in the garden; but I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid myself." Then he asked, "Who told you that you were naked? You have eaten, then, from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat!" The man replied, "The woman whom you put here with me— she gave me fruit from the tree, and so I ate it." The LORD God then asked the woman, "Why did you do such a thing?" The woman answered, "The serpent tricked me into it, so I ate it." Then the LORD God said to the serpent: "Because you have done this, you shall be banned from all the animals and from all the wild creatures; on your belly shall you crawl, and dirt shall you eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel." The man called his wife Eve, because she became the mother of all the living.

EPHESIANS 1:3-6, 11-12
Brothers and sisters: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him. In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved. In him we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the One who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will, so that we might exist for the praise of his glory, we who first hoped in Christ.

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.

A shoeshine boy was working hard at his job of shinning shoes. A silver medal danced at his neck as he slapped his shine cloth again and again across the shoes of a man.

After watching the medal for a while, the man said curiously, "Boy, what's that thing around your neck?" "It's a medal of the mother of Jesus," said the boy. "But why her medal?" asked the man, "She's no different from your mother." "You could be right," said the boy, "But there's sure a big difference between her son and me."

The man knocked the ashes from his cigar, slapped a twenty-peso bill in the boy's hand, and walked off. That boy's answer was not only good diplomacy, but also good theology. And both are sometimes necessary in talking to non-Catholics about Mary.

Many Protestants also recognize that Mary is somebody special. For example, the Protestant poet William Wordsworth once called Mary "our tainted nature's solitary boast." Wordworth's beautiful phrase explains why Catholics celebrate today's feast of the Immaculate Conception. It's because Mary is indeed "our tainted nature's solitary boast." She alone was preserved from sin.

Martin Luther, the leader of the Protestant reformation in Germany. He had a great devotion to Mary. Not only did he write about her extensively, but he also kept a statue of her in his office. Years after Luther broke with the Church, Lutherans continued to celebrate the feast of the Immaculate Conception.

Pope Pius IX defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception on December 8, 1854. It holds that Mary was untouched by sin from the moment of her conception. In other words, she was born free from original sin and remained free from sin the rest of her life.

Belief in the Immaculate Conception is as old as Christianity itself, and is also in perfect agreement with the teaching of the Scripture. For example, take today's first reading. There, God says to Satan, "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers." Christians have universally held that the woman referred to is ultimately Mary, and that the offspring is ultimately Jesus.

In today's Gospel reading, the Angel Gabriel says to Mary, "Rejoice, O highly favored daughter…. Blessed are you among women." The Angel's salutation puts Mary in a class by herself, above all women of the world.

When you think of it, it's only fitting that God should protect Mary from sin. After all, she would be the mother of Jesus, the Son of God. And isn't it fitting that the Son of God should be born of a sinless mother?

We in the Philippines always have a special devotion to Mary. Our country is consecrated to her under the title of the Immaculate Conception. And so, today we celebrate the feast of the Immaculate Conception with special joy and gratitude. For it is, in a special way, "our" feast.

"Heavenly Father, you offer us abundant grace, mercy, and forgiveness through your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. Help me to live a grace-filled life as Mary did by believing in your promises and by giving you my unqualified "yes" to your will and to your plan for my life."

We pray -
- for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the unborn.
- for the continued and complete recovery of Mike Torres.
- for the personal intentions of the Santos Family.
- for the eternal repose of the soul of Crispin Gonzales. Eternal rest grant unto him and may perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace.
- for the personal intentions, forgiveness, peace and harmony of Charles Conrad H. C and Cheryl P.C.
- for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
- Birthday: Acero, Ambrosio T.C.
- In Memoriam: Chua Chen
- Prayer Intention: Anna Pashmina
- for world peace and reconciliation.

Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.

Have a good day!

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