“And Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.’” (Luke 1:38)
Have you ever been to an eatery or restaurant only to come across the boss (or the owner of the place) insulting or disgracing one of her/his employees? Nothing puts people off as easily as lack of respect for our subordinates. If you want to know God better, just see how He treats His Mother, His own creature whom He specially chose for this role.
Mary is the woman in whose womb God chose to take flesh. She is by all standards less than God and she even described herself as His handmaid yet, God showered so much honour on her as to preserve her from original sin right from the womb of her parents, Joachim and Anne. This is the feast that we celebrate today; Mary’s Immaculate (sinless, spotless) conception.
You might wonder, how did we know that Mary was preserved from original sin? Our Gospel passage today tells us how the Angel Gabriel (sent by God to seek Mary’s consent) greeted her saying: “Hail, O favoured one, the Lord is with you!” (Luke 1:28). Mary, above any creature God made, was highly favoured, singled out and given the privilege of carrying Jesus.
In the womb of Mary, John tells us “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.” (John 1:14). To say one is full of grace means that there is no room for sin in that person. The words of St. Paul in today’s second reading have particular reference to Mary in that she was chosen in Christ “before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless.” (Ephesians 1:4).
In celebrating Mary’s Immaculate Conception, we are reminded that there is no limit to what God can do in us and through us if only we allow God to have His way in our lives by doing His will; that is, by saying “Yes” just as Mary said: “I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38). We utter our “yes” to God by living a life that is holy and blameless.
Even though none of us had the privilege of Immaculate Conception, there is nothing that stops us from living Immaculate lives. It all begins by developing a real hatred for sin.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, keep me pure and holy like Mary. Amen.
Bible Study: Genesis 3:9-20, Psalm 98:1-4, Ephesians 1:3-12 and Luke 1:26-38).