Monday, December 07, 2015
IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
December 8, 2015 TUESDAY, IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
Principal Patroness of the Philippines
Solemnity, Holyday of Obligation, White
[Pope Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus, 08 Dec 1854
". . . the doctrine that maintains that the most Blessed Virgin Mary in the first instant of her conception, by a unique grace and privilege of the omnipotent God and in consideration of the merits of Christ Jesus the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore must be firmly and constantly held by all the faithful."]
Gn 3:9 - 15, 20 / Eph 1:3 - 6,11 – 12 / Lk 1:26 - 38
First Reading: Gn 3:9 - 15, 20
Yahweh God called the man saying to him, "Where are you?" He said, "I heard your voice in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid." God said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree I ordered you not to eat?" The man answered, "The woman you put with me gave me fruit from the tree and I ate it." God said to the woman, "What have you done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me and I ate."
Yahweh God said to the serpent, "Since you have done that, be cursed among all the cattle and wild beasts! You will crawl on your belly and eat dust all the days of your life. I will make you enemies, you and the woman, your offspring and her offspring. He will crush your head and you will strike his heel."
The man called his wife by the name of Eve, because she was the mother of all the living.
Second Reading: Eph 1:3 - 6,11 - 12
Blessed be God, the Father of Christ Jesus our Lord, who in Christ has blessed us from heaven with every spiritual blessing. God chose us in Christ before the creation of the world to be holy and without sin in his presence. From eternity he destined us in love to be his adopted sons and daughters through Christ Jesus, thus fulfilling his free and generous will. This goal suited him: that his loving-kindness which he granted us in his Beloved might finally receive all glory and praise. In him and under him God wanted to unite, when the fullness of time had come, everything in heaven and on earth. By a decree of Him who disposes all things according to his own plan and decision we, the Jews, have been chosen and called and we were awaiting the Messiah, for the praise of his glory.
Gospel: Lk 1:26 - 38
In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth. He was sent to a young virgin who was betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the family of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
The angel came to her and said, "Rejoice, full of grace, the Lord is with you." Mary was troubled at these words, wondering what this greeting could mean.
But the angel said, "Do not fear, Mary, for God has looked kindly on you. You shall conceive and bear a son and you shall call him Jesus. He will be great and shall rightly be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the kingdom of David, his ancestor; he will rule over the people of Jacob forever and his reign shall have no end."
Then Mary said to the angel, "How can this be if I am a virgin?" And the angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore, the holy child to be born shall be called Son of God.
Even your relative Elizabeth is expecting a son in her old age, although she was unable to have a child, and she is now in her sixth month. With God nothing is impossible."
Then Mary said, "I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me as you have said." And the angel left her.
From the time of Abraham God chose individuals in history to participate in God's plan for humanity. Mary, among all of humanity, was untouched by sin even from her conception because of her unique role as Mother of God.
What is the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary? What does it mean when we say she was conceived without stain of original sin?
The "Immaculate Conception" is not about the biological process of Mary's conception. It is not about the kind of relations her parents Joachim and Anne had.
The "Immaculate Conception" is about the radical holiness of Mary. Unlike all others who need faith and baptism to be freed from the sin of the world (what we call original sin), Mary did not need to be freed from sin. The singular gift and privilege given her was that she was exempted from original sin by the grace of Jesus Christ. She was in this world but was prevented from falling under the domination of the world by the grace of Jesus Christ.
Mary was as dependent upon Christ as we are; and perhaps even more so. Christ cures sin in us, but in Mary he prevented sin in her from her conception. Prevention, not cure, was the gift given to Mary, The Franciscan theologian Duns Scotus pointed out that "not only is prevention better than cure, but all cure aspires to be prevention."
Thomas Merton spoke of Christ as the Light that comes to us through a window: the window is Mary. If we rejoice in that Light, we implicitly praise the cleanliness of the window. Light can shine through in all its glory only if the window is immaculately clean, so clean that the window is hardly noticed.
Unlike Mary we are not yet holy at the core of our being: that is what we are called to be. We are forgiven sinners who know our sinfulness, admit it honestly and experience forgiveness in the Church. But Christ wishes to bring us even further.
We Filipinos like to rationalize our weaknesses, sapagkat tayo ay tao lamang. We can be very complacent about our sins and acts of selfishness by thinking and saying that, being only human, we cannot help it; tao lamang tayo.
Jesus tells us today that it does not have to be so. He tells us today not only that he wants to forgive our sins but also that he wants us to move towards a life where there is no sin. He wants us to be totally free, as Mary was. And when we are totally free, we will choose only what is good, loving and true. We are called and challenged to be freely self-giving, when we choose not from self-interest but from love and concern for others.
Let us pray for the grace to desire holiness. Let us pray for freedom from our complacency so that we can become more radically holy and free to love and serve God in all things.
WE PRAY FOR MTQ DAILY PRAYER DIARY INTENTIONS:
ROMARICO T. ALVAREZ
ELMER & SOLIE SUBA & CHILDREN
MAMERTO & VIRGIE DOMINGO & CHILDREN
REDEMPTORIS MATER MISSIONARY SEMINARY – 1966
AGAPITO, JR & GLORIA MONZON-TABAO
CHARLENE & MANOLETTE CARLOS
IN MEMORIAM (+)
For the gift of life of MARIA CONCEPCION BILLANES
For the healing & recovery of EDGARDO MANALASTAS
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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