Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
2016 – Cycle ABC
Genesis 3:9-15,20; Psalm 98; Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12; Luke 1:26-38
Words we seldom use any more,
…except in ridicule and tongue–in–cheek humour while rolling our eyes.
Words that hearken to a perceived past period of naiveté and gullibility. In our sophisticated post–modern world our eyes have been opened and we know we are naked and don’t much care. Thus these words now are paradoxically “dirty” in our sexually free and charged culture. A confused time in which people are caught in the web of license, individualism, indifference and defiance; a nakedness that knows no modesty.
In this state, what meaning does a conception of new life have for us that is immaculate?
What meaning can this new life have for us – the life of a person who will be contradictory Virgin and Mother? Yet are not all our lives contradictions? – confused mixtures of goodness and sin; at times striving to “run the good race” [See 2 Timothy 4:7] and at other times surrendering to the worst of our inclinations; lives that are barren and yet life–giving; people who are defiled and pure – immaculate.
Once expelled, we cannot return to the garden. The garden is no longer an option for us. There is no place to hide. It is in this brazen, unfettered world that we must live. And like a serpent (speaking of contradictions!), can we slough off our dead skin to renew – immaculate? At our Baptism we were presented with a white garment. “See in this white garment the outward sign of your Christian dignity. Bring that dignity unstained –immaculate – into the everlasting life of heaven.” [Roman Rite]
Are we willing to receive the image of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, even if like an unknown, unwelcomed gift, and allow its subtle power to confront and challenge us; to let it gently speak to that which in us is good; to let its elusive beauty fill the deep unacknowledged yearning in us for what we lost in the garden – the yearning for our personal and human dignity?