The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Solemnity)
Genesis 3:9-15, 20
Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12
He destined us for adoption. (Ephesians 1:5)
From Heidi to Oliver Twist, the stories of orphans who finally find a home hold a special place in our hearts. Why? Maybe because we all know what it’s like to feel alone, and we find in these stories of acceptance the hope that we too will find a place where we are welcomed and loved unconditionally. In other words, we all long to be adopted into eternal life!
But what if this yearning for adoption were met by someone with an even stronger yearning to adopt us? What if today’s passage is really telling us how deeply God longs to be our Father?
Think of how faithfully God reached out to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Think of how he rescued his people from slavery in Egypt. Think of all the times he saved his people from their enemies and restored them to himself. Think about how he sent his only Son among us, born of the sinless Virgin Mary, to save us and make us his sons and daughters.
Today, we celebrate the outpouring of grace at Mary’s conception, making her free from original sin and so able to bear the Son of God. It’s a beautiful memorial, but what does this mean for us? It means that we have a Father who wants to bring us into his home forever. For without Mary’s immaculate conception, there could be no incarnation. And without the incarnation, there would be no salvation. So now we have a spiritual home. We are loved and welcomed. We are no longer orphans but children of the Most High!
Today also begins the Holy Year of Mercy decreed by Pope Francis. How fitting that this year of grace should start on the day when we celebrate God’s mercy toward Mary—a mercy that opened the floodgates of grace for all of us!
So take a moment, and imagine that you are an orphan living on the streets. Out of nowhere, God appears and puts his arms around you. “You are my child,” he says, his eyes beaming with love. “I want you to come home and live with me.”
That’s what makes Mary such a special woman. That’s what makes this such a special day.
“Thank you, Lord, for adopting me!”~WAU