Fr. Roger J. Landry
Espirito Santo Parish, Fall River, MA
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady
December 8, 2000
Gn 3:9-15,20; Eph 1:3-6,11-12; Lk 1:26-38
Relevance & Catechesis — not virginal conception of Christ, but immaculate conception of Mary in womb of St. Anne. Preserved free from all stain of original sin. Coming from eternal redemption of Christ. Reading of Annunciation might lead to confusion.
1) Mary and sin
• Fathers looked at necessity of sinful mother to receive Christ
• We should be sinless in receiving Christ. Receive body and blood unworthily (Cor).
• List of sins: not coming to Mass on weekends, stealing, grossly being disobedient to our parents, sleeping with a boyfriend or girlfriend, looking at pornography on the web, tv, or in magazines; lying; doing drugs or getting hammered with booze; doing envious actions to harm another.
• All these should be confessed. Great gift of confession. Merciful Lord — lost sheep.
• Greatest cause of loss of faith is bad communions, when we think we can serve two masters, Satan (or ourselves) and God.
• Not to try to prevent people from receiving holy Communion — Jesus died to feed you — but to prevent you from making bad communions, which are a sacrilege.
• So come. Stop me any time. Go on weekends with your parish priests.
• Point: there is a relationship between receiving Jesus and freedom from sin.
2) Mary and vocation
• Not just any virgin, but great specificity.
• God had chosen her and set her aside at her conception.
• God has great specificity for every one of us. Each has vocation. Called to respond as Mary did.
• Bernadette, another 14 year old, integrally related to this feast. Sick girl, dumb. Feb 11, 1858 started to receive visions of the Blessed Mother in Lourdes, France. On March 25, “Que soy era Immaculado Conceptiou.” Didn’t even know what the words meant. Mary identified herself with this title. Bernadette, as hard as it was for her, with the appearance of the Blessed Virgin under that title and the great miracles that have occurred there ever since, re-writing the wrongs done through sin, the relationship with God is healed, the relationship with oneself is healed, and the relationship with others is healed. Countless miracles.
• God wishes Mary to be known by that title by all of those miracles done.
3) Mary and Advent
• Now in time of Advent, making straight the paths to receive Jesus, not just at Christmas in the commemoration of his birth, but at the end of time, when he comes for us (or comes for us personally at our deaths).
• No better way to prepare to receive Jesus on Christmas day and when we meet him face to face in all his glory than to receive him worthily here.
• Same Holy Spirit that overshadowed Mary will soon overshadow me and this altar. Whereas Mary received in her womb and bear a son and call him Jesus, so Jesus will come here.
• Exact same Jesus. We will bear him inside of us in Holy Communion just as much as Mary did.
• We are called also to bring him to others, to give birth to others, so that others may leap again.
“O Mary, Conceived without original sin: pray for us who have recourse to Thee!”