The Gospel Today
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.
Reflection (Sem. Eldrick S. Pena)
Today, we celebrate one of the greatest Marian feasts in the Church, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. As I reflect on today’s Gospel, I could say that Mary is a perfect example of obedience to the Father’s will. Her “fiat” will always be a sign of her total trust and confidence in God’s merciful love and surrender to His will.
I recall one priest saying in his homily that the entire heavenly abode was tongue-tied and was silent as they waited for Mary to respond to God’s invitation through Angel Gabriel to be the mother of Jesus. And came her great “yes” which she committed to and lived out the rest of her life even until death.
I, too, as a seminarian have given my full and undivided “yes” to Jesus’ invitation to follow Him closely when I entered the seminary. But my “yes” entails a day-to-day commitment to be faithful to Jesus, the Master. Every day is also an invitation to die to oneself and become more and more charitable and loving towards others. I realized that in my vocation as a priest-in-process, my “yes” only reaches its fullness and completeness every time I am able to say “no” to myself and to the temptation of worldly allurements.
May the Blessed Mother, whose “yes” was tested and reached its fullness in Mount Calvary at the foot of the cross of her son, be my model of obedience and faithfulness in my committing to become a better person, a better seminarian and a better priest in the future, if it is God’s will. Amen.