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Immaculate Conception

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God worked out his plan that started in Eden by giving his grace to Mary at her conception so that she could be the holy Mother of God. The same God has plans for us if we say yes to him and allow him to make us holy in Christ.

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Title

God is at Work before we are Conscious

Outline

I am not without sin, but God was making me a Catholic priest before I was conscious

Now, I am not Mary or any saint, not without sin
But God was still forming me, as he was you, before we realized it
That is the story of the Immaculate Conception of the BVM

It starts back in the Temple Garden Eden

The man and the woman are innocent, sinless, in the image of God and they have sacramental physical immortality in the tree of life as well as immortal souls. They are in relationship with God, speaking with him every evening - there is no barrier to their leitourgia
But the devil snuck into their minds, as he does ours, and persuaded them that God was holding back, that they would like God if they experience the knowledge of good and evil. That is, he ignored the fact that they were already in the likeness of God and persuaded them to experience not only good, but evil. They did, and their relationships fell apart, first with God, then with each other, etc. And they were mercifully barred from continuing physical life.
But there was a promise: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; her seed will strike at your head, while you strike at their heel.” Already there is a plan for destruction of the serpent, although there will be a wounding of the seed of the woman in the process. But the seed of the woman cannot do this if it is in a fallen state, if it has what we call original sin.

We see part of the fulfillment in Luke

That is, we see how God “chose [Mary] in [Jesus], before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him.”
When Gabriel shows up before an unsuspecting Mary he says, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” - Mary had already received God’s grace or favor to the full, so God was already with her. She was, in Paul’s words, “holy and without blemish.” When did this happen? When did the wounding of Christ on the cross, working in timeless fashion, remove the blemish of sin from Mary so that she could not transmit it to Jesus, so that he would be naturally holy? The Church’s answer is the most logical: at her conception so she never had that blemish transmitted to her and thus was without tendency to sin all her life. [And, the Church adds, she was also kept from personal sin.]
Therefore, the child, who would not be Joseph’s except by adoption, would be called Jesus, “Yahweh Saves.”
Therefore, he would be called “the Son of the Most High” as Solomon was, but in this case it was not by adoption, although his having the “throne of his father David” was by adoption through Joseph.
And the reason for all of this was the Holy Spirit, who would produce holy offspring, a Son of God.

Friends, this has implications

First and foremost, Mary was destined by divine plan to be the holy Mother of God, a Son of God who would “save us from our sins.” She accepted her role in the divine plan with her “yes.”
Notice that Mary’s immaculate conception was not that she was conceived without a sexual act - God created sex within marriage as good and holy - but because God had purified the distortion of natural conception that had happened at the fall.
Second, Mary in accepting the word of God rather than the word of the snake, did indeed crush the serpent’s head in that she reversed the act of Eve in her living out her immaculate conception with her yes.
Third, God also has plans for us, not as exalted as Mary’s, not as sinless as Mary’s, but just as much “in Christ” as Mary was. We do not have to discern it; we simply need to live close to him and he will guide us into it or reveal it to us when he knows the best timing has come.
Mary was immaculately conceived and therefore able to live an immaculate life, fully in God’s plan. She is the big picture of what God is doing in each of our lives as we respond to his grace with our “yes” and allow God to make us holy in Jesus.

Readings

Catholic Daily Readings 12-8-2022: Immaculate Conception

FIRST READING

Genesis 3:9–15, 20

9 The LORD God then called to the man and asked him: Where are you? 10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden; but I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid.” 11 Then God asked: Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat? 12 The man replied, “The woman whom you put here with me—she gave me fruit from the tree, so I ate it.” 13 The LORD God then asked the woman: What is this you have done? The woman answered, “The snake tricked me, so I ate it.”

14 Then the LORD God said to the snake:

Because you have done this,

cursed are you

among all the animals, tame or wild;

On your belly you shall crawl,

and dust you shall eat

all the days of your life.

15 I will put enmity between you and the woman,

and between your offspring and hers;

They will strike at your head,

while you strike at their heel.

20 The man gave his wife the name “Eve,” because she was the mother of all the living.

Catholic Daily Readings 12-8-2022: Immaculate Conception

RESPONSE

Psalm 98:1

1 A psalm.

Sing a new song to the LORD,

for he has done marvelous deeds.

His right hand and holy arm

have won the victory.

PSALM

Psalm 98:1–4

1 A psalm.

Sing a new song to the LORD,

for he has done marvelous deeds.

His right hand and holy arm

have won the victory.

2 The LORD has made his victory known;

has revealed his triumph in the sight of the nations,

3 He has remembered his mercy and faithfulness

toward the house of Israel.

All the ends of the earth have seen

the victory of our God.

4 Shout with joy to the LORD, all the earth;

break into song; sing praise.

Catholic Daily Readings 12-8-2022: Immaculate Conception

SECOND READING

Ephesians 1:3–6, 11–12

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, 4 as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him. In love 5 he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, 6 for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved.

11 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, 12 so that we might exist for the praise of his glory, we who first hoped in Christ.

Catholic Daily Readings 12-8-2022: Immaculate Conception

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION

Luke 1:28

28 And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.”

GOSPEL

Luke 1:26–38

26 In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.” 29 But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. 32 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, 33 and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” 34 But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” 35 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. 36 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; 37 for nothing will be impossible for God.” 38 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.

Notes

Catholic Daily Readings 12-8-2022: Immaculate Conception

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 8, 2022 | SOLEMNITY

IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

YEARS ABC | ROMAN MISSAL | LECTIONARY

First Reading Genesis 3:9–15, 20

Response Psalm 98:1

Psalm Psalm 98:1–4

Second Reading Ephesians 1:3–6, 11–12

Gospel Acclamation Luke 1:28

Gospel Luke 1:26–38

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