Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary
Mass Times: 8:30 a.m., Noon and 5:30 p.m.
The Immaculate Conception
Many people confuse this statement about Mary with what is called “the virgin birth of Jesus”. Both are about Jesus and both are about Mary. The Virgin Birth of Jesus is announced in today’s reading. Mary is to be the mother of Jesus, and this is to happen through the extraordinary power of God.
The Immaculate Conception speaks of a mystery not described in the Scripture, but is born of the Christian belief that in order to be the mother of the God/man Jesus, sin would surely never have touched Mary’s life, even the sin we call “original sin”.
The feast speaks of the power of God and the action of God in sending Jesus into the world to confront the powers of evil that prevent us and our world from a full flourishing of life. This feast affirms the power of God, manifest in Jesus and expresses a belief that this action of God was anticipated in the life of Mary because of the role she was to play in being the God-bearer, the mother of Jesus. Traditional language says that Mary was preserved from all sin from the moment of her conception. This affirms the power of God already making its presence felt throughout the entire life of Mary.
Mary is the first witness to the blessings God has bestowed through Jesus. Attuned to these blessings she pondered the mystery of God’s action in her life—Luke says, “she pondered all these things in her heart” (2:51). As a witness, and as one faithful to God’s word, she can be a model for us, to ponder the mysterious action of God in our lives.