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08/12/2017   Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary

08/12/2017   Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary

 Reading 1, Genesis 3,9-15.20 * Psalm 97 * Reading 2, Ephesians 1,3-6.11-12 * Gospel, Luke 1,26-38


In this solemn day dedicated to the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary the preface praises the Lord in this way: “You preserved the Most Blessed Virgin Mary from all stain of original sin”. The Church got to the point of formulating this sentence with great joy and serenity: looking at the Virgin Mary, as a matter of fact, it has always tried to contemplate the work of God, very well convinced that the latter is always more beautiful than what men can possibly imagine!

She was to bring forth a Son, the innocent Lamb who would wipe away our offences”: she could not then pass on to Him, the Man-God, Adam's sin, so she needed to be free from it, not thanks to her own merit, but thanks to the choice and as a gift from the Father! In today’s mystery we can see God's gratuitous love, his faithfulness to men, the beauty of his wisdom that prepares everything, prearranged for the events to come.

This mystery of the Father’s love is described and highlighted by Saint Paul in the letter to the Ephesians. He has blessed us, he chose us, he wanted us to be holy, to be sons: all of this through the work of Jesus!

The Father’s choice makes us happy, and, at the same time, it spurs us to glorify Him! In plain English we would say: let us try to make Him look good by behaving in a way becoming Him! This is what we admire in the most blessed Mary’s life. Her beauty is all God’s doing, but she herself lived humble and compliant in a way that the Father’s glory was shining as a result!

The text from the Gospel shows us her, while she meets with the angel Gabriel. The latter addresses her with words that remind us the prophecies of the great prophets, who lived awaiting for the fulfilment of the divine promise to all men! These prophecies speak of joy, of a son, of a kingdom and a throne! These words of greatness cannot do anything but startling the simple spirit of Mary! She does not reject them, she can just see her smallness and inadequacy and, questioning herself, she asks the angel how this can possibly happen, or more precisely, what is she supposed to do in order to carry out those great tasks.

She does not need to do anything, not a single thing! The Spirit of God will think about everything: the Holy Spirit will be the only protagonist in everything! He is the only one who can bring God’s holiness into that humanity that is still and always under the influence of the original sin.

Sin is always in the background of all the ages and every event happening on Earth. God cannot overlook it. It is sin that spoiled his design in the first place, the beauty of his work of creation, since the very beginning. Man let himself be deceived by the serpent. Man trusted the deceitful word full of scorn of his enemy, rather than trusting that simple and sweet coming from his Creator!

The first reading shows us the very first consequences of sin: fear, darkness, breaking of any communion, a tendency to blame each other. However, right away also resounds the Father’s promise! God does not want to leave man in desperation not even for a moment. To the first advice that the man did not follow he attaches another word, a promise, a sure and clear one: evil and the devil will be subdued. He himself will provide the victory, and he will do that using a woman’s foot! As soon as the sin has been committed, the “history” of salvation begins! On God’s side we can see love that wants to save, on the man’s side the difficulty of accepting the love, of letting himself being saved, of answering joyfully.

Finally, the answer comes from Mary’s mouth: “You see before you the Lord's servant, let it happen to me as you have said”. With the humble humility she tramples on the proud head of the enemy and thus God’s victory begins! We are thanking her today, honouring her, imitating her in our answers to God’s proposals.


Virgin not touched by sin, we love you! To be able to say your yes to the Father cost you too just as much as it costs us. You had your labours, your anxieties and your tribulations, the anguish for the death awaiting your Son. You felt the temptations, just like Jesus did, and just like Him and with His strength you too won, staying compliant, completely abandoned to the Father’s will! Please let me join you in saying: “You see before you the Lord's servant, let it happen to me as you have said”.