THE WOMAN: A HOMILY ON THE SOLEMNITY OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
When people say they disagree with an idea, it may not be the idea that they disagree with, but the wrong understanding of the idea. One of the most difficult dogmas of the church is what we celebrate today. This dogma has gone through many writings and many arguments, both of those who agree with it and those who do not agree with it. One of the arguments of those who do not agree with it is the usual question ‘Where is it in the Bible’, as if whatever is not in the Bible cannot be true; as if it is the Bible that asked them to exercise regularly.
In any case, our readings of today give us a good understanding of this dogma. In our first reading, as far back as genesis 3:9-20, after the fall of Adam and Eve, and the curse is places on the serpent, on Adam and on Eve, a promise is made of an enmity between the Serpent and the woman, and between the offspring of the serpent and the offspring of the woman. We understand that Mary is the Second Eve, whose offspring is Jesus the greatest enemy of the devil.
In our second reading also, we are told of our desnity as believers. We are all destined for holiness. But because we chose to sin, we have to struggle to maintain this holiness, all thanks to our first parent who sinned. But the dogma of Immaculate Conception teaches us that Mary is preserved from the stain of original sin, which means that she was prepared even from her mother’s womb as a sacred vessel to give birth to our Lord Jesus Christ. Are we saying she was sinless all her life? Yes! How is that possible? First, through the merits of the suffering and death of Christ, because for God, there is no past present and future. So she is able to enjoy the merits of the passion even when the passion had not taken place historically.
This is why the angel in the gospel calls her full of grace. But this grace did not work automatically without her cooperation. Her ‘Yes’ was very important. She had to cooperate with the grace God had given her. We also have been given many graces, especially through the sacraments. But they dont work automatically, we have to cooperate with them to bring about our salvation. The Immaculate conception of Mary is not just about Mary. It is also a sign that if we believe, if we cooperate, we can become holy just as is God’s plan for us.