Feast of the Immaculate Conception

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Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary


First Reading

Genesis 3,9-15.20

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.

Psalmody

Psalm 97

Antiphon

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.

Second Reading

Ephesians 1,3-6.11-12

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

Luke 1,26-38

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

Homily

Through the story of Adam and Eve, the passage from the book of Genesis introduces us to the feast of the Mother of God, Immaculate, that is, conceived without the original sin, without that inclination that drives every man and woman to commit evil. And it is significant that it brings us back to original sin, in the sense that it is at the origin of evil, even the evil of this time. It is the sin of Promethean pride: "You will be like God." Even today, evil continues to push men and women to exalt themselves, to leave room for pride, to think of themselves. And here divisions, injustice, hatred, destruction, conflicts, and wars are born among people. The tempter continues to insinuate into the deepest folds of people's hearts: ties are dissolved and divisions multiply.
But here is Mary and her mystery which we contemplate today "immaculate" already in her conception. She was preserved from that original guilt, from that instinct of self-love which wounds every person from birth. With Mary the tragic chain that leads men and women to violence and death is interrupted. Conceived without this original sin, Mary begins a new page in human history, that of a friendship with God, which is even more beautiful than that experienced by her forefathers.
Contemplating Mary, conceived without sin by grace, not by merit, we can participate with her in her own mystery. She could not be stained by original guilt - the holy Fathers often repeat - she who was to welcome the Son of God into her womb. The love of the Son protected his mother.
This mystery of Mary, protected from evil, which we contemplate today is not foreign to the very mystery of the Church, the community of believers. Today marks the end of the Jubilee year that Pope Francis consecrated to Joseph, Mary's spouse. Today the mystery of her life preserved from evil is entrusted to each of us. Even if her members are sinners, the Church, like Mary, is called to listen to the voice of the angel and to say her yes. This is what happened to Joseph, who heard the words of the angel: "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary, your wife, with you." Mary's yes must be followed by Joseph's yes so that God's plan of love may find its fulfilment.