Today is the feast of the Immaculate Conception.
Right in the middle of Advent. We’re supposed to be waiting in hope. Focused on the One who is to come.
We’re messing it up. With some random Holy Day of Obligation. About Mary. Because, why not?
Just more of the Mary stuff we do as Catholics. We drag Mary into everything. Why not Advent, even if it makes no sense, right?
Actually, the truth goes something like this:
“Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King!
Let every heart prepare Him room,”
Today, we celebrate the first heart to “prepare Him room.”
The Immaculate Conception is about Mary. That Mary was conceived free from original sin. Why?
So that Mary’s answer to the angel, the one we hear in today’s Gospel, could be a truly free choice. Not clouded by ego and pride. Not made desperate by separation from God through sin.
But an answer freely given. From a heart that was truly free.
Some people think that Mary, being conceived free from original sin, means that Mary was God’s perfect robot. That Mary really had no choice.
Okay. Let’s look at the history of choices made by people conceived free from original sin.
Mary. Free from original sin. Said “yes” to God.
Jesus. Free from original sin. Said “yes” to God.
Adam. Free from original sin. Said “no” to God.
Eve. Same thing.
That’s 50%. Half the people free from original sin used that freedom to say no to God.
Clearly, lack of a sinful nature does not mean lack of a free choice.
Great, but what does this have to do with Advent?
Advent has its roots in the Prophets. Isaiah, Elijah, and the others who foretold the One who is to come. The longing of age after age for a Savior.
Mary is the patron saint of Advent.
Because the Immaculate Conception grabs hold of the longing of the ages. And takes it from dreamtime. To our time.
Mary’s “yes” to God takes it from someday. To today.
Because she said “yes.” Because she first, prepared Him room, we can say,
“Joy to the world, the Lord is come!”
Mary shows us the power of saying yes to God.
Imagine what could happen if we said yes.