SOLEMNITY OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

December 8, 2017

Genesis 3: 9-15, 20

 

But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” He said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent tricked me, and I ate.” The Lord God said to the serpent,

 

“Because you have done this,

    cursed are you among all animals

    and among all wild creatures;

upon your belly you shall go,

    and dust you shall eat

    all the days of your life.

I will put enmity between you and the woman,

    and between your offspring and hers;

he will strike your head,

    and you will strike his heel.”

 

The man named his wife Eve, because she was the mother of all living.

 

 

Psalm 98: 1-4

 

O sing to the Lord a new song,

    for he has done marvelous things.

His right hand and his holy arm

    have gotten him victory.

The Lord has made known his victory;

    he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations.

He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness

    to the house of Israel.

All the ends of the earth have seen

    the victory of our God.

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth;

    break forth into joyous song and sing praises.

 

 

Ephesian 1: 3-6, 11-12

 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.

In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory.

 

 

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 engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel said to her, “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 holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

 

(NRSVCE)

 

Meditation

 

The origins of God’s intent for man and woman was for them to live in a balanced, equal partnership with one another. Often the fall of man is disproportionately blamed on women because Eve first ate of the forbidden fruit. But in careful reading of Genesis, we read that Adam was with Eve when the serpent coerced her, meaning that Adam failed in his role of partner to Eve by not protecting her. He then was equally at fault and either committed the sin of omission, or was also deceived by the serpent, yet assigned blame fully to his wife. In this, trust, health, and relationship between man and woman was broken.

 

Fast forward to the incarnation of Christ. A woman is in conversation with a supernatural being. She is given a message about the character and plans of God and invited to be a part of it. Parallel to Eve’s conversation with the serpent, only the angel Gabriel is speaking the truth that aligns with the prophecies and Word of God. Yet while Eve had Adam by her side passively allowing her to sin, Mary is alone and states that she has had “no relations with a man”. The lack of male presence completely exemplifies the brokenness between man and woman. Since man did not physically protect woman from allowing sin to enter the world, man was not allowed to physically be a part of woman receiving life into the world as Jesus became the “fruit of her womb”.

 

Mary could not simply be any random person. Adam and Eve were created sinless which gave them the choice to turn toward sin. In order for man and woman to be recreated, God gave humanity the same choice with the same conditions. Hence, Mary was born “full of grace”, specifically allowed by God to remain pure so as to be the new Eve and be faced with the question of what fruit to receive. Jesus is then the new Adam as He is the recreation of man reestablishing the sinless life as a human, and offering eternal life as God.

 

Mary’s earthly spouse, Joseph, enters the scene later and ultimately engages in healthy partnership with Mary by becoming the adoptive father of Christ, foreshadowing the adoption Jesus will offer the entire world. Through the incarnation of Jesus, Joseph is invited into reestablishing God’s initial plan for partnership between man and woman.

 

The relational dynamic of the first Adam and Eve as husband and wife, and the new Eve and new Adam as mother and son, point to the great importance these relationships bear in our lives. Given that not all of humanity is yet reconciled to Jesus, the relationship between man and woman, specifically surrounding marriage and commitment, and between parent and child, may be severely broken and painful. Our Lord has recreated these relationships and longs to bring healing into our lives, but it takes an act of faith on our own part to receive the Lord.

 

Today, let us turn to the Lord in truth and vulnerability allowing Him to see where we have been damaged by our own sin and the sins of others. Let us be like Mary and receive Jesus in place of the brokenness, loneliness, and pain.

 

Prayer: Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among woman and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

 

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