2nd Week of Advent
Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Ps 98:2–3ab, 3cd–4
Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.
1st Reading: Gen 3:9–15, 20
Yahweh God called the man saying to him, “Where are you?” He said, “I heard your voice in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.” God said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree I ordered you not to eat?” The man answered, “The woman you put with me gave me fruit from the tree and I ate it.” God said to the woman, “What have you done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me and I ate.”
Yahweh God said to the serpent, “Since you have done that, be cursed among all the cattle and wild beasts! You will crawl on your belly and eat dust all the days of your life. I will make you enemies, you and the woman, your offspring and her offspring. He will crush your head and you will strike his heel.”
The man called his wife by the name of Eve, because she was the mother of all the living.
2nd Reading: Eph 1:3–6, 11–12
Blessed be God, the Father of Christ Jesus our Lord,
who in Christ has blessed us from heaven with every spiritual blessing.
God chose us in Christ before the creation of the world
to be holy and without sin in his presence.
From eternity he destined us in love
to be his adopted sons and daughters through Christ Jesus,
thus fulfilling his free and generous will.
This goal suited him:
that his loving-kindness which he granted us in his Beloved
might finally receive all glory and praise.
By a decree of Him who disposes all things
according to his own plan and decision
we, the Jews, have been chosen and called
and we were awaiting the Messiah,
for the praise of his glory.
Gospel: Lk 1:26–38
The angel Gabriel came to Mary and said, “Rejoice, full of grace, the Lord is with you.” Mary was troubled at these words, wondering what this greeting could mean.
But the angel said, “Do not fear, Mary, for God has looked kindly on you. You shall conceive and bear a son and you shall call him Jesus. He will be great and shall rightly be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the kingdom of David, his ancestor; he will rule over the people of Jacob forever and his reign shall have no end.”
Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be if I am a virgin?” And the angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore, the holy child to be born shall be called Son of God. Even your relative Elizabeth is expecting a son in her old age, although she was unable to have a child, and she is now in her sixth month. With God nothing is impossible.”
Then Mary said, “I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me as you have said.” And the angel left her.
Once I asked my mother: “If an angel were to appear to you and say ‘you are chosen to be the mother of God,’ would you be willing to accept”? Without pausing for a second, she said, “Of course, why not? Wouldn’t that be a great honor?”
Of course, she would. Any woman would. That’s because they already have the story of Mary to go by—her decision, her blessedness, and her reward. However, it was very different for Mary. She had no precedence to go by. No model to imitate. The angel’s visit was unexpected. She was unsure of where her consent would take her. Between the invitation of Gabriel and the response of Mary was a moment of profound silence, a moment that would have unnerved even the least fainthearted. In that moment, in the darkness of her faith, Mary made her choice. Before she pronounced the words, she willed in her heart and surrendered to whatever God wanted.
We honor Mary who was conceived without the stain of Original Sin. We praise God for her Immaculate Conception. We thank her for her faith, courage, and obedience.
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