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Homilies :: Latin Rite
Saturday of the 1st Week of Advent Download This Homily

December 8, 2018
Saturday of the 1st Week of Advent


Genesis 3:9-15, 20

Psalm 98:1-4

Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12

GospelLK 1:26-38


The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary.


And coming to her, he said, "Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you." But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his Kingdom there will be no end." But Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?"


And the angel said to her in reply, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God." Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." Then the angel departed from her.


Feast of Immaculate Conception



Saint Andrew of Crete says: All creation sings with joy, exults, and participates in the joy of this day.... This is, in fact, the day on which the Creator of the world constructed His temple; today is the day on which by an amazing project, a creature becomes the preferred dwelling of the Creator". What is the significance of the feast of Immaculate conception? The reason for this celebration is not found primarily in the greatness or the privileges of the person involved, but her singular mission in the History of Salvation. In this light, the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin is considered to be in direct relationship with the coming of the Savior of the world. Thus the Immaculate conception of Mary takes on a significance that transcends her own person. It is explained solely in the context of the History of Salvation, connected with the People of God of the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. Mary's existence lies at the confluence of the two Testaments - bringing to an end the stage of expectation and the promises, and inaugurating the new times of grace and salvation in Jesus Christ.

 
Mary, the Daughter of Zion, is the hope and the dawn of the whole world. With her, the elevated Daughter of Zion, after a long expectation of the promises, the times are fulfilled and a new economy of salvation is established. Her existence is intimately connected with that of Christ: it partakes of a unique plan of salvation and grace. God's mysterious plan regarding the incarnation of the Word embraces also the Virgin who is His Mother. In this way, Mary is inserted at the very heart of the History of Salvation.

 
Mary was born to be the mother of the Savior of the world, the spiritual mother of all men, and the holiest of God's creatures. Because of her Son's infinite merits, she was conceived and born immaculate and full of grace. Through her, Queen of heaven and of earth, all grace is given to us, human beings. Through her, by the will of the Trinity, the unbelieving receive the gift of faith; the afflicted are tendered the works of mercy; and the members of Christ grow in likeness of their Head. In Mary all human nature is exalted.


The Blessed Virgin occupies a unique place in the history of salvation, and she has the highest mission ever commended to any creature. We rejoice that the Mother of God is our Mother, too. We call upon the Blessed Virgin as "Cause of our joy", one of the most beautiful titles in her litany.


From the Annunciation to the Crucifixion of her Son, Mary can be seen as the best model of the free submission to the will of God.  The Virgin Mary's obedience to the will of God as conveyed to her in the angel Gabriel's message was no less voluntary in its affirmation than the disobedience of the virgin Eve had been in its negation. St. Irenaeus the Bishop of Lyon writes: "...so also Mary, betrothed to a man but nevertheless still a virgin, being obedient, was made the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race. Thus, the knot of Eve's disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary.  What the virgin Eve had bound in unbelief, the Virgin Mary loosed through faith."


Mary as the first human to believe in Jesus as her Savior, took her place in Salvation History as the first Christian. She is also the one disciple of Jesus who didn't flee or doubt when all the others fled and doubted, but who stayed and accepted to the very end the burden of being under the Cross.  Down through the ages, the weeping Mary of the Cross witnessing her son's torture and death stands in solidarity with all believers who also suffer and live under the shadow of the Cross.


It is Mary who bridges the Old and New Testaments. The Old Testament records God's plan for human salvation in His preparations to make the world ready for the Incarnation.  Of all the tribes of the earth, He chose a particular people to whom He reveals Himself.  He nurtures and instructs them through His prophets in order for them to be able to recognize the Son of God when it was time for Him to come.  And when the time came, from among these people, He chooses a woman from a certain preordained family, the house of David.  It was absolutely necessary that she be set apart in her purity and virtue and so she is conceived without original sin and set apart in a holy state of purity and perpetual virginity. 

 Mary stands as the Christian model, which we should all imitate.  From her obedience at the Annunciation to the events of Christ's passion, she illustrates for us a model of Christian virtue, faith and obedience as she remained true to Christ and His word.  It has been as Mary prophesied, filled with the Holy Spirit, "Yes, from now onwards all generations will call me blessed!"


In the Old Covenant, the Holy Ark of the Covenant was God's presence with His Covenant people.  In Mary's "yes" in humbly submitting herself to God's plan she became the Ark of the New Covenant, her womb became the first Eucharistic tabernacle, and her travels to visit Elizabeth her cousin and her journey to Bethlehem, became the first Eucharistic processions.  Pope Benedict XVI expressed this dimension of Mary's meekness in her submission to God in his homily on June 1, 2005: "In a certain way, we can say that her journey was the first Eucharistic procession of history.  Living tabernacle of God-made-flesh, Mary is the Ark of the Covenant in whom the Lord has visited and redeemed His people.  Jesus' presence fills her with the Holy Spirit....Is not this too the joy of the Church, that incessantly welcomes Jesus in the Holy Eucharist and carries Him to the world with charity, faith and hope?  Yes, to welcome Christ and to take Him to others is the true joy of Christians! Let us carry on and imitate Mary, a deeply Eucharistic soul, and all our lives will become a Magnificat”.


The Virgin Mary is the Church's inheritance from the cross of Jesus Christ.  At the very end of His life Jesus entrusted His mother into the care of the "beloved disciple" and at the same time announced that the "beloved disciple" became a child of Mary at this moment in salvation history.  This is the birth of the Christian family at the foot of the cross.  Jesus has given Mary the maternal care of John and all faithful disciples in her Son's Church. This is Mary's spiritual motherhood.  It is in this sense of her spiritual motherhood that the Church has continued to honor Mary from the earliest years of the Church. 


Our Savior began His work of redemption at the instant of His conception in the womb of Mary.  He accomplished the redemption of all mankind when He offered his sacrificial death on the cross.  In His Passion on the cross He freed humanity from the debt of sin, and He reconciled a sinful humanity to the Father.  In the sacrifice of the Most Holy Eucharist Christ unites the people of God to Himself.  And yet Mary's unique role cannot be ignored as she continues to cooperate in bringing us to her Son.  She is without a doubt an important link between Christ and His Church as both model Christian and spiritual mother.


Mary's perfect fidelity to the Father's will, to the requirements of her Son's redemptive mission, and to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit has made her the Christian's model of faith and love.  Mary is the most excellent example and fulfillment of all that the Church herself is called to be and to give. She continues that motherly role in our redemption by continuous intercession in heaven and by mediating her Son's saving graces to the pilgrim Church on earth.  Vatican II does not hesitate to call her our "Mediator" as well as our "Advocate," 'Helper," and "Benefactress".


Mary's true mission in the past and in the present is to lead us in obedience and faithfulness by her example to her Son, Christ Jesus. Her true glory is ever to lead us by her motherly love and compassion to her beloved Son and Savior. On the altar of the Cross, the Virgin Mary becomes mankind's spiritual mother calling all men, as she did the servants at the wedding at Cana to ‘do whatever He tells you’.


Mary, as our Mother, is the loving gift from Jesus Christ to every man, woman, and child in the family of God.  The early Church manifested her heartfelt belief in the intercessory power of Mary, to whom she called for help and protection in the midst of dangers and trials. Thus Mary not only mediates the graces of God to humanity as Mediator, but she also mediates the petitions of the human family back to God as our Advocate.


 It is through the most Holy Virgin Mary that Jesus came into the world and it is also through her that He has to reign in the world. She is humankind's representative, for this consent of Mary is one which the entire universe was awaiting for so many centuries. She has found grace, for herself and for each person individually. She has found grace before God for the whole world in general and for each one in particular. The Son of God became man for our salvation but in Mary and through Mary.


This is salvation history: Mary willed by God to be the faithful virgin saying ‘Yes’ to God's plan in the name of the universe. She is the inseparable companion of Jesus, she is the eternal spouse of the Spirit, she is forever the Daughter of the Heavenly Father. As salvation history unfolds in our own personal lives, in the life of our parish community, and in the life of the Church, there is always this necessary element, willed by God: the faith, hope and love of Mary, the submission and obedience of Mary, the readiness to be a mediator of God in the world today as did Mary. Then we can call her as our Mother in the true sense and we become her true and worthy children.


 Dr. Wilson Edattukaran CMI


Homilies Navchetana Apps, the first of its kind is produced and published by Navchetana Communications, Bhopal, India to assist the clergy to preach the World of God and also as a handy spiritual resource for the people of God to reflect on the daily spiritual passages at their convenience. You can download this on your Android phone from Google play and you can see the Gospel reflections of the whole year. The size of this app is just 2.5 MB. We welcome your suggestions and contributions to server you better.

May God Bless you

Fr. James M L CMI

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Homilies Navchetana is an initiative of Navchetana Communications, Bhopal, India. We have been sending the Sunday and daily homilies last four years. We are grateful to you for your cooperation and encouraging comments. Navchetana is committed to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ through modern media and performing arts. Through our Web TV, audio and video productions and stage programmes we take the Gospel message to the ends of the earth. Make a donation and be a part of this noble mission.


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