Dec.8th Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Introduction

This great feast, one of the few left in the church, reminds us of the dignity of the sinless one, our holy mother. For since Christ was also the one, in Paul’s words, like us in all things but sin so with his mother. So conscious of our own efforts to over come evil in our lives let us call to mind our sins..

Homily

“He hath cast down the mighty from their thrones and lifted up the lowly”. Mary’s words say that the important people in God’s world are not wealthy egotists but innocent people who spend themselves doing good. They seldom expect worldly reward; pius nuns, kind carers, selfless fathers and mothers, faithful parishioners, caring nurses. They’re the ones we celebrate on this feast. At Mary’s conception there were plenty of rich, self-serving people like Herod’s wife. But God didn’t choose her. He went to Anna in a small village, and made her daughter free from sin so that she could bear the sinless one for our salvation.

The message for us is to rediscover our innocence, in a world where sin is almost the norm. Where even Christmas innocence is secularized and commercialized into profits and new year sales. By contrast a Mary-like Xmas is 12 days of joyful family gatherings, midnight mass, the crib, reaching out to all in love. Is that changing? I hope not; we must uphold God’s gentle innocent values against the hard world, like Mary did, or all is lost. For only such values save, raise us up to great heights like Mary. Lets commit ourselves to such values, raise others up this Christmas, and help change the world and our church for the better. For by choosing Mary, God called the world back to innocence. As he calls each of us by this feast. At baptism, we put on a white garment, were freed from sin, and made God’s sinless children; we were told to keep that white garment on until we went out with the saints to meet Christ at last.

As human beings of course, suffering under structures of sin in the world, its hard be perfect like Mary. She understands that and loves us still, as a mother loves her baby through every misbehavior. We’ll never be fully perfect but we can be holy, which is mainly a constant struggle to be as good as we can as mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, workers, priests, religious, whatever. Despite inadequacies and failures, carrying on, knowing God’s overflowing grace in Christ can enable us to do great things, overcome evil, and keep our baptismal garment stainless, our souls free from worldly corruption? This feast is a call to make straight a way for the lord in our lives once more, if we’ve drifted from that original vision.

Look at the difference the act of God on Mary’s behalf made. And He’s constantly does the same for each of us in Christ, restoring our innocence. Through prayer, confession, advent and Lenten renewal, He purifies a people fit to do his will with generous hearts like Mary. And that’s how his kingdom will come. Through ordinary good people like ourselves, trying our best to bring the world back to the innocent original Eden. For the values of the sinful, cruel, violent world of which Satan’s Lord leave us empty, destroyed in soul on the edge of eternity; but Christ, born of a sinless mother is lord of life, love, goodness, beauty and truth for our soul’s happiness in this world and forever and ever, amen. So as God’s people with the immaculate mother as our model, struggling to live up to our vocation to holiness, despite our recurrent sins, we profess our faith..

Prayers of the Faithful

And as God’s people lets pray for all our needs.

For our holy father the Pope and all the leaders of the church that they may continue to challenge to the world with the sinless message of the Gospel, of Christ and his holy mother..

For civil leaders that they may do all they can to protect the innocents in society from injustice, crime and evil…

For young people, may they recommit themselves at each stage of their lives to the white church garment put on at baptism and confirmation and never give up believing in God’s love and grace.

For ourselves, may we inspire our children, relatives and friends with the quality of our lives as dedicated Christian people..

For the sick, the aged, the lonely and the oppressed, may they take courage from Mary’s words, “he hath cast down the mighty from their thrones and lifted up the lowly”; through our care may they know the care of God and his holy mother..

For the dead that they may be freed from all sin, restored to an immaculate state of soul as they enter heaven with the help of our prayers and continuing love and remembrance..

And we ask all these prayers through Christ, and the intercession before him by the immaculate mother of us all.

Reflection

The most amazing aspect of Bernadette and Lourdes is the reply of Mary to her, when she asked of the lady, “who are you”. “I am the Immaculate Conception”, the lady said. And immediately she asked for Bernadette to help her heal the world in body and soul. So this feast links with social justice and healing in the world. Let us all pray for that too, for healing in our own lives, and for the innocent restoration of the world as we say..Hail Mary.

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