Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Gn 3:9-15, 20; Eph 1:3-6, 11-12; Lk 1:26-38

The Church defined as a dogma of Faith that from the first moment of her conception in the womb of her mother Anne, Mary was preserved from Original Sin. Every human being is infected with original sin from birth, but Mary was preserved from that because God prepared her to be the mother of His begotten Son, Jesus.

What does the feast of the Immaculate Conception tell us today?

Importantly, the feast reminds us that sin is ugly and the grace of God is beautiful. Our first reading describes to us the ugliness of sin – there is shame, guilt and anxiety. We need to realize that Adam and Eve’s experience is our experience, too.

When Adam and Eve had eaten of the fruit from the forbidden tree they went into hiding. They were afraid and embarrassed. Is this not our own experience when we sinned? When we do something bad, we feel nervous and scared. That’s the ugliness of sin.

When God was looking for his beloved creatures, Adam answered from his hideout, “I am here but I am afraid, because I am naked.” When we do something wrong, we lose our face. We see our nakedness. That’s the ugliness of sin.

When God said, “Have you eaten from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat?” the man replied, “Don’t blame me; blame that woman you gave me.” And Eve said, “Don’t blame me; blame that snake in the grass.” This is the ugliness of sin – we become proud, we become self-righteous. When we sin, we often make excuses and we tend to pass the blame on others. We develop the bad habit of “passing the buck.”

On the other hand, the second reading and the gospel tell us that the grace of God is beautiful. In the second reading we hear: God has chosen us to be his children. Is there anything more beautiful than to be called a child of God? God promised that he will not abandon us. God will save us in Jesus. We will be victorious over sin because Christ has blessed us with every spiritual blessing. Christ has chosen us in him, even before the foundations of the world, to be holy and blameless in his sight.

The gospel is a beautiful story of an ordinary woman highly favored by God. The story of Mary was one of peace, love and intimacy. There was the assuring presence of the angel, “Fear not Mary.” There was the greeting of peace, “Hail O favored one!” There was a gracious act of humility, “I am the servant of the Lord, be it done to me as you say.” The grace of peace, love, intimacy and humility is always beautiful.

Sin is ugly; the grace of God is beautiful. The problem with the world today is that it is preaching the other way around. What is ugly, the world makes beautiful; and what is beautiful, the world makes ugly. The feast of the Immaculate Conception makes it clear to us that sin is always ugly and the grace of God is always beautiful. There is no beauty in pornography because this would lead to more rapes, incestuous unions and sexual abuse of children. There is no beauty in sex outside the context of love and marriage because this would transform persons into mere objects of pleasure and sexual desires. There is no beauty in drugs because this would lead to killings and crimes of violent nature.

May the Blessed Mother make us appreciate more the beauty of a pure heart, a simple lifestyle and a humble service! All of us are sinners, but the blessed Mother will continue to console and inspire us to stand up after every fall. Sometimes we fall to discouragement because of constant sinning, but Mary will always be there to remind us that indeed we are predestined by Christ to be holy and blameless in His sight.