Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary Read more
Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary
But Yahweh God called to the man. 'Where are you?' he asked. 'I heard the sound of you in the garden,' he replied. 'I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.' 'Who told you that you were naked?' he asked. 'Have you been eating from the tree I forbade you to eat?' The man replied, 'It was the woman you put with me; she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.' Then Yahweh God said to the woman, 'Why did you do that?' The woman replied, 'The snake tempted me and I ate.' Then Yahweh God said to the snake, 'Because you have done this, Accursed be you of all animals wild and tame! On your belly you will go and on dust you will feed as long as you live. I shall put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; it will bruise your head and you will strike its heel.' The man named his wife 'Eve' because she was the mother of all those who live.
Shout and sing praises to the Lord.
Sing a new song to the Lord
for he has worked wonders.
His right hand and his holy arm
have brought salvation.
The lord has made known his salvation;
has shown his justice to the nations.
He has remembered his truth and love
for the house of Israel.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of our god.
Shout to the Lord all the earth,
ring out your joy.
Sing Psalms to the Lord with the harp
with the sound of music.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
acclaim the Kind, the Lord.
Let the sea and all within it, thunder;
the world, and all its peoples.
Let the river clap their hands
and the hills ring out their joy
at the presence of the Lord : for he comes,
he comes to rule the earth.
He will rule with the world with justice
and the peoples with fairness.
Blessed be God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all the spiritual blessings of heaven in Christ. Thus he chose us in Christ before the world was made to be holy and faultless before him in love, marking us out for himself beforehand, to be adopted sons, through Jesus Christ. Such was his purpose and good pleasure, to the praise of the glory of his grace, his free gift to us in the Beloved, And it is in him that we have received our heritage, marked out beforehand as we were, under the plan of the One who guides all things as he decides by his own will, chosen to be, for the praise of his glory, the people who would put their hopes in Christ before he came.
Reading of the Gospel
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia
The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. He went in and said to her, 'Rejoice, you who enjoy God's favour! The Lord is with you.' She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her, 'Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God's favour. Look! You are to conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end.' Mary said to the angel, 'But how can this come about, since I have no knowledge of man?' The angel answered, 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God. And I tell you this too: your cousin Elizabeth also, in her old age, has conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God.' Mary said, 'You see before you the Lord's servant, let it happen to me as you have said.' And the angel left her.
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia
Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia
The passage of Genesis recounts, in symbolic language, the origins of human history: Adam and Eve betray God's love. This account unveils the mystery of that sin, called original sin, in the sense that it is at the origin of evil, even the evil of our time, even the evil of these days. The image of the serpent means that 'the' tempter lies within the very heart of human beings and pushes them to be, at any cost, like God. In short, we are all tempted to feel masters not only of ourselves but also of others: "You will be like God." But here is Mary, whom the Church makes us contemplate from conception. She was preserved from original sin, from that instinct of self-love that wounds every person, in order to be able to welcome the Son of God. With Mary, therefore, the tragic chain that binds men and women to violence and sin is broken. Mary begins a new page in human history, that of a friendship with God, even more beautiful than that which the progenitors had in the Garden of Eden before sin. Of course, she was conceived without sin by grace, not by merit. Certainly, Mary fully accepted to become Jesus' mother. It was not easy, nor was her acceptance granted. When the angel brought her God's greeting, Mary was perplexed. Contrary to the feelings that generally dwell in our hearts, Mary did not think highly of herself.
At the words of the angel, Mary did not exalt herself. Instead, she was perplexed. So it should be for us each time we listen to the Gospel. However, the angel comforts Mary, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And now, you will conceive a son... and [you] will name him Jesus" (v. 30-31). We cannot know what Mary's thoughts were at that moment. She could say "No" and go on with her quiet life of always; if she said "Yes," her entire life would be turned upside down. Unlike us, Mary does not depend on her own strength but only on the Word of God, and therefore she says, "Here am I, the servant of the lord; let it be with me according to your word."
Prayer is the heart of the life of the Community of Sant'Egidio and is its absolute priority. At the end of the day, every the Community of Sant'Egidio, large or small, gathers around the Lord to listen to his Word. The Word of God and the prayer are, in fact, the very basis of the whole life of the Community. The disciples cannot do other than remain at the feet of Jesus, as did Mary of Bethany, to receive his love and learn his ways (Phil. 2:5).
So every evening, when the Community returns to the feet of the Lord, it repeats the words of the anonymous disciple: " Lord, teach us how to pray". Jesus, Master of prayer, continues to answer: "When you pray, say: Abba, Father". It is not a simple exhortation, it is much more. With these words Jesus lets the disciples participate in his own relationship with the Father. Therefore in prayer, the fact of being children of the Father who is in heaven, comes before the words we may say So praying is above all a way of being! That is to say we are children who turn with faith to the Father, certain that they will be heard.
Jesus teaches us to call God "Our Father". And not simply "Father" or "My Father". Disciples, even when they pray on their own, are never isolated nor they are orphans; they are always members of the Lord's family.
In praying together, beside the mystery of being children of God, there is also the mystery of brotherhood, as the Father of the Church said: "You cannot have God as father without having the church as mother". When praying together, the Holy Spirit assembles the disciples in the upper room together with Mary, the Lord's mother, so that they may direct their gaze towards the Lord's face and learn from Him the secret of his Heart.
The Communities of Sant'Egidio all over the world gather in the various places of prayer and lay before the Lord the hopes and the sufferings of the tired, exhausted crowds of which the Gospel speaks ( Mat. 9, 3:7 ), In these ancient crowds we can see the huge masses of the modern cities, the millions of refugees who continue to flee their countries, the poor, relegated to the very fringe of life and all those who are waiting for someone to take care of them. Praying together includes the cry, the invocation, the aspiration, the desire for peace, the healing and salvation of the men and women of this world. Prayer is never in vain; it rises ceaselessly to the Lord so that anguish is turned into hope, tears into joy, despair into happiness, and solitude into communion. May the Kingdom of God come soon among people!