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Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

My dear encountered couples:

Today we celebrate a new beginning for the human race. Today marks the gift of a second chance. Eve had given in to the temptation of the serpent; Adam joined her in her disobedience. The two of them committed the first sin, willingly separating themselves from God and his love.

We share in their sin from the first moment of our existence. We are born in the state of original sin - the state into which our first parents entered when they turned their backs on God and choose their own will in opposition to His. The worst effect of their sin was death, not merely death of the body but an everlasting death-like misery of the soul. People would be separated from God forever. He who is the source of all good and the only possibility for happiness was no longer within our reach. Through Adam and Eve, we had rejected God and chosen our own way.

Most fortunately, however, God loves us too much to let that situation continue. After many centuries of allowing people to find out they could not take care of themselves either in this life or in the next, God quietly undertook the start of his saving plan. In other words, he began what would give the human race a second chance at heaven. He got a new show on the road.

Somewhere around 15 B.C. a woman named Anna conceived a child. Unknown even to her this child was conceived in the state of grace. This child, a girl, shared in God's life at the first moment of her existence. She was free of the effects of original sin. She did not inherit what Adam and Eve had left for us: the loss of friendship with God and no chance at eternal happiness. She was preserved from all this. Though to be called Mary, she was to become the new Eve. For through Mary, the spotless, sinless one, would come the new Adam, Jesus, whose obedience to the Father would restore a chance for each person to enjoy friendship and love with God.

This is a great feast day! We are not merely to honor Mary. What more could we add to the honor already given her by God? She was chosen before her existence to become the Mother of the Savior - Jesus, the Son of God. She was gifted with special gifts which prepared her to be the only person worthy to bring the Son of God made human into our world.

We are here to rejoice with her. We are here to praise and thank God for this new beginning - a chance for people to achieve freedom from the effects of sin and the attainment of perfect happiness. Because of the disobedience of Adam and Eve (and let's face it - because of our own disobedience and sinfulness) we were destined to eternal misery separated from our only source of happiness - God. Now all that is changed. We now have the opportunity to obtain the complete satisfaction of all our needs and desires which comes only through a perfect union of love and friendship with God.

This feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary should be of a supreme importance to us. Because of God's way of doing things, without this feast, without the Immaculate Conception of Mary there would be no Christmas, there would be no Easter. There would be no chance of our having any loving relationship with God. He would not be our Father and we would not be his children.

Mary once heard the angel say, “Rejoice, a highly favored daughter! The Lord is with you.” The angel indicated the specialness and privileged position of Mary, the holiness endowed upon her by God. But you and I can also rejoice for we are gifted with the opportunity to share that same privileged holiness and happiness. Be sure that you live your life, not like the first Adam and the first Eve, but in line with the example of the new Adam, Jesus and the new Eve, Mary.

Listen to Jesus, follow him. Remain open like Mary and receive from God more than you can ever possibly imagine he wants to give you.


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