The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary: Unblemished


            Today’s second reading from the Letter of Paul to the Ephesians tells us about God’s original plan for us.  It says that God chose us before the foundation of the world to be holy and without blemish before Him.  But mankind did not remain unblemished.  Through his own free will mankind chose to disobey God, chose sin. Adam and Eve had knowledge of sin, and then realized they were naked.  They realized their own vulnerability.


            God did not give up on His plan, but now, due to sin, the plan needed a Special One, both human and divine, to set it into motion. God’s love for us was so great that He sent His Eternal Word to become that special one, to become one of us, to take upon Himself a human nature, and then to live a life of sacrificial love, dying on the cross in total submission to the Will of the Father. Through Jesus Christ we would become adopted children of God.


            But how could the Holy of Holies have a human nature if that nature had the experience of sin? That would be a contradiction: the Holy One taking upon Himself a sinful existence.  No, he had became one like us in all things but not in sin.  For the Eternal Word to take upon himself a human nature, the one through whom He became man would be one who was created according to God’s original plan.  His mother had to be unblemished.  This is what we are celebrating today, the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Because Mary was conceived full of grace, unblemished, then she herself could conceive Jesus.  So we are dealing with two conceptions today:  The immaculate conception of Mary that was prefigured in Genesis and the conception of Word of God  that could take place because Mary was holy.


            So again, Ephesians:


He chose us in him, before the foundation of the world,
to be holy and without blemish before him.
In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will,
for the praise of the glory of his grace
that he granted us in the beloved

            Like Adam and Eve we recognize our own nakedness before God, the results of our own sin.  But unlike Adam and Eve, we are not mired in our sin, thrown out of the Garden of Eden.  We have been given dignity. We are the adopted sons and daughters of God.


            Sometimes, though, we forget who we are.  We do not act like children of the Holy One and the Immaculate One.  So today we ask our Mother Mary to pray for us sinners.  Intercede with her son for us that we might have the grace to join Him in unfolding God’s plan for all mankind.