Today’s the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
Find the Mass Readings here: Immaculate Conception: December 8, 2017
Today’s got me thinking about beginnings.
We’re still in the beginning of the Liturgical Calendar. We’ve started a brand new year. It opens with Advent – a time of preparation. What a great way to start the year! By preparing to receive Jesus into our lives anew.
And speaking of beginnings, we’re preparing to receive Jesus – not as the Crucified or Resurrected Savior, but as a little Baby. So we’re spending a lot of time thinking about the beginning of His life on earth.
God made man. Born in a stable.
As I imagine the sights and smells of His surroundings, I realize it’s not the most comfortable or spectacular beginning.
But it IS spectacular, all the same, for a very different reason. Spectacular because God humbled Himself to become Man. And who ever heard of an all-powerful God becoming a completely helpless Baby?!
Now, to today’s solemnity: The Immaculate Conception. Mary’s beginning.
What an amazing gift and a grace! God prepared her from the very first moment of her life to accept Jesus into her heart – into her very body.
She was conceived completely without stain of sin. And she remained that way her entire life!
I can imagine just what a special child she must have been. A true and constant joy to her parents.
One more beginning. Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. We heard about them in the first reading. Eve, too, like Mary, was created without stain of sin.
But Eve didn’t remain that way. No, she chose to turn her back to God.
Whereas Mary spent her entire life saying “Yes” to God, Eve didn’t seem to waste much time in entering into disobedience. She totally blew it for the rest of us, right?
Thanks be to God for bringing good out of evil. For raising up a new Eve. An Eve who would cling to her innocence, her purity, her obedience and love for God. An Eve who would bear His very Son into the world, to right the wrong of the original Eve. To kick-off our salvation.
All these pure beginnings are very contrasted to my own beginning. Conceived with the stain of original sin. Born that way.
But where Eve slid from purity to evil, God has granted me the grace, through Baptism, to move in the reverse direction. I was brought into this broken earth with a stained soul. But through Baptism, I was restored to God’s grace. Welcomed into His family.
Unfortunately, I’ve continued to be more like Eve than like Mary. I’ve relapsed into disobedience. I’ve turned my back on God and said “No” to His plan.
But God’s always willing to give me the opportunity for a new beginning. Every time I go to confession, He lifts my out of my deprivation. He carries me back to the top of the mountain. He restores me with His grace.
And now, in this beginning of the Liturgical Year, as I prepare to celebrate the feast of Christmas – the beginning of Jesus’ life on this earth, I have another opportunity for a new beginning.
I have the opportunity to receive Jesus into my life all over again. To welcome Him into my heart. To turn my life around. To say more “Yes”es, like Mary, and less “No”s.
Dear Jesus, create in me a new beginning. Restore me once again to You. Help me to live a pure life, filled with love and obedience to You.
I want to know your Mass Takeaway too! Comment with your thoughts on the readings, your pastor’s homily, or anything that struck you during your time at Mass.