|Feast of the Immaculate Conception
Genesis 3:9-15, 20
Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12
"I heard you in the garden, but I was afraid . . . "
"In love, he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will . . . "
"Do not be afraid, Mary . . . "
Today, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, we celebrate the goodness of God -- His genius and undying love for us.
We celebrate God's gift of mother-love. We rejoice in the example of Mary's trust, her simple "Yes" to God, from which flows our only hope.
We celebrate freedom from fear.
Have I avoided God because "I was afraid?" Yes. That happens when I am driven by fear and shame and the mistaken belief that I alone can do something -- anything -- about it. I avoid God, I avoid other people, I avoid all the possibilities of life. This is as sad as today's Genesis story of betrayal, defiance and loss.
But today's Psalm urges joy: "Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds." Betrayal, defiance and loss do not mark the end of the story!
Marvelous indeed: God gave us Mary, whose troubled reaction to the words of the angel quickly turns to perfect surrender to the loving will of God.
Marvelous indeed: Fear is transformed to trust, to hope, to salvation, because God loves us as much and more than any mother loves her child. Can it be that simple?
Yes. Advent is here. Expect marvelous deeds.
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