Mary’s Home, Basilica of Annunciation, Nazareth
By: Deacon Bill Frere
Homily for Wednesday December 8 2021
Gospel – Luke 1: 26=38
We celebrate today the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. For many, it is perhaps the most misunderstood Solemnity in the liturgical year. We are commemorating the conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, not the conception of Jesus, the Son of God. Instead we celebrate Jesus’ conception on March 25 with the Annunciation, Mary’s YES to the Angel Gabriel. And then nine months later, we celebrate Jesus birth on December 25.
No, today we remember the moment when Mary was conceived without any stain of original sin in the womb of her mother Anne. Nine months later on September 8, we celebrate Mary’s birth. The tradition of Mary being conceived without original sin has been around since the 9th century but it was only in 1854 that Pope Pius IX proclaimed as Church dogma that “from the first moment of her conception the Blessed Virgin Mary was, by the singular grace and privilege of Almighty God, and in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of mankind, kept free from all stain of original sin.”
Mary was chosen for this singular honor in order to provide a suitable vessel for the Son of God. And, in perfect faith and obedience, her “yes” in today’s Gospel is a sign of her agreement to God’s plan of salvation. She is the new Eve, chosen by God even before the world began.
God has chosen each one of us as His adopted child; He desires us to be with Him forever in the Kingdom of Heaven. Will we say yes? Will our words and actions today be a yes? A yes of faith and obedience to His Will?
Hail, Mary, full of grace,
the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou amongst women
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.
Deacon Bill Frere