Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Luke 1: 26-38
Gn 3: 9-15. 20 / Ps 98: 1 – 4 / Eph 1: 3-6, 11-12

Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to your word.
(Luke 1:38)

As Mary had set the example
In serving God with total trust,
If faith be our guiding principle
Then God will surely be with us.

When the Archangel Gabriel brought the news to Mary that she had been chosen to bring the Messiah into the world, the revelation came as a shock to her at first (since she did not understand, and in fact had no relationship with any man). But Gabriel’s soothing words put her at ease. “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. You will conceive and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.” And when she asked how this could be possible, the angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.” And with complete faith, our Blessed Mother said: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to your word.”

Reflection

The Gospel of St. Luke relates a very touching scene where the Virgin Mary acceded to the plan of God, inspite of the dangerous consequences of being found pregnant before her marriage to Joseph. No hesitation, apprehension, doubt or fear — with total trust, from this innocent, peasant maiden, and God honored her to become the Mother of His Son. Her total obedience and faith endeared her to the Father. Our Lord Jesus once said, “According to your faith it will be done for you” (Mt.8:13). This has always been a powerful principle in life that can work for or against us.

In many instances it has been proven that faith alone can bring about remarkable consequences. A group of doctors once performed a radical experiment that proved the power or paradox of the placebo. Seventeen volunteer patients who were suffering severe angina were recruited. On nine of them surgeries were performed, but with the other eight the only operation performed were skin-deep incisions — just to give the impression that actual surgeries had been undertaken. Both groups responded well. One placebo patient actually recovered completely, and most of the patients in both groups reported substantial improvement. It wasn’t the surgeries but the patients’ faith in the success of the surgeries or the surgeons’ abilities that made the difference. There have also been a number of cases of cancer patients whose diseases went into remission after the patients found renewed faith in God’s healing power, to their doctors’ amazement. Such is the kind of faith that we all need. With complete faith in Jesus Christ, all things are possible for us (Phil.4:13).

Today, Catholics all over the world celebrate the feast of the Immaculate Conception of the blessed Virgin Mary. Before she was born, God already knew that she would be a woman of great faith, and so gave her the special privilege of being the only woman born without the curse of Eve’s sin of disobedience. She would bear the Word made flesh into the world, and it was but fitting this human matrix that would nourish the Divine Seed should be free from any blemish of original sin.

Lord God, in all circumstances, may we follow the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary, whom You exalted because of her faith and complete trust in You. Amen.

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