My brothers and sisters in Christ,1
Today, we celebrate this beautiful Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. It is very special for all of us because as we know she’s the patroness of the United States.
Now, in a sense, this is the beginning of a week of Mary, Our Blessed Mother. Because today we celebrate the Immaculate Conception and in a few days we also celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Today’s celebration is about the Immaculate Conception and as we know it is about the fact that Mary was preserved from all stain of original sin. So, she is the Immaculate Conception.
So, when we think about it, it is clear to us that God wanted Mary to be the most perfect creature because she will be the mother of God. As I always say, I talk about it because it is a beautiful example — a simple example — of how this was possible. The theologians say that it was fitting. God could do it, therefore he did do it and we are very happy to celebrate it.
It is just a beautiful plan of God for the redemption of the human race.
What the first reading of today’s Mass goes back to the beginning of the world, the story of Adam and Eve. And this story reminds us that God had a plan from the beginning — a plan of love and a plan of redemption.
And in that plan, God wanted Mary to be the “new Eve.” To bring a “new Adam” — Jesus into the world — to show us the way to happiness and salvation.
So, God had a plan for Mary, Our Blessed Mother. And my dear brothers and sisters, God also has a plan for each one of us.
In the second reading, St. Paul tells us that before the foundation of the world, God had a plan for each one of us. He destined us in love to be his children.
God in our Father— our loving Father. We are his children, each one of us. I am a child of God. We all are children of God. He knows our name and he has a plan of love for our lives.
It’s important that we all reflect on this as often as we can. Because this is who we are. The other things that can be part of our life are important, but this is the most important thing. What we call Divine Filiation, the fact that we are children of God.
And when we think about how to respond to that, obviously the best example is Mary Our Blessed Mother. She is our model of faith. She shows us that we have to give our lives to God’s plan.
The challenge for us is to be aware of what is God’s plan for us and especially thinking of what is it specifically that God wants me to do.
We don’t have all the answers. We need God’s help, we need Mary’s help and intercession.
As we heard in the passage of the Gospel, Mary Our Blessed Mother was not expecting to be the Mother of God. And she was saying “how is this going to happen?”
But then she understood it and she said yes. Mary’s whole life is a “yes” to God.
Mary entrusted herself totally to God’s will for her life. She made a conscious decision to cooperate with his will, to be a “handmaid” to God’s plan of salvation.
Like Jesus and like Mary, we need to trust in that beautiful plan that God has for our lives. And we need to ask ourselves what is that God wants me to do. And then ask for the intercession of Mary Our Blessed Mother and with the help of the grace of God to do all we can to be faithful to God’s plan for our life.
Finally, let us not forget that Mary is our Mother! What a beautiful gift that is! Her heart is full of love for us. And we know it.
We all can talk about so many moments in our lives that we go to the intercession of Mary Our Blessed Mother and things happen! It’s beautiful!
She’s always praying for us, just as mothers are always praying for her children. She wants to teach us, she wants to help us grow.
So today let us ask for the grace to increase our love and devotion for Mary Our Blessed Mother — follow her example and be assured that she is our Mother always close to us.
May she continue to help each one of us, our families, and our nation — the Catholic Church in the United States — especially these days as we prepare during this Advent season for the coming of Jesus on Christmas Day.
1. Readings: Gen. 3:9-15,20; Ps. 98:1-4; Eph 1:3-6, 11-12; Luke 1:26-38.