Saturday, December 27, 2008

Immaculate Conception Homily

“In him we were also chosen,
destined in accord with the purpose of the One
who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will,
so that we might exist for the praise of his glory,
we who first hoped in Christ.”

Today’s feast is about the Blessed Virgin Mary, but it is also about us. Tonight we honor the great work of God in Mary and renew our participation in His work in us.

Some people feel awkward about honoring Mary. Some people feel that honoring Mary takes away from Jesus Christ. When we understand what we celebrate—that at the beginning of her life, God protected Mary from sin—then we realize we do not simply honor Mary, we honor God. When we honor a painting, we give praise to the artist. God is the supreme author of the Immaculate Conception.

If we know our own sin, we know the need for this singular gift to Mary. We know that, like Adam and Eve, we are fearful of what God asks of us. Sin makes us afraid, grace allows us to say yes. If there were no grace, no Immaculate Conception, Mary would not have been free to say yes, to say “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord!”

At the same time, there is grace for us. There is grace through Jesus Christ so that we too may say yes, we too may say “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord!” God desires for us to be free from sin. God desires for us to not simply refrain from anger but to pray for those who harm us. God desires us to be fully alive, choosing him at all moments.

What God desires for us is not self-fulfillment but full participation in His own life. What the world calls “self-fulfillment” is a contradiction and is also too little for us. We have a loftier destination. We might say that conversion consists precisely in not considering ourselves as our own "creators" and thereby discovering the truth, for we are not the authors of ourselves. –Pope Benedict XVI

Let us ask Mary to help us, to pray for us as our Mother, our Patroness, and our example.

3 comments:

Irenaeus said...

Father Andrew returns!!!

Fr. Andrew said...

It has been a long December, with all respect to the Counting Crows.

Irenaeus said...

Isn't it always...hope you get a breather sometime soon in January.