It is 8th December 2018. We celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the feast day of our Beloved Arch Diocese of Bulawayo under Her patroness. The readings are from Genesis 3:9-15, 20; the second reading is from Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12; and the Gospel from Luke 1:26-38. “How blessed are those who are pure in heart, because it is, they who will see God!” (Mt. 5:8). Our Beloved Mother Mary not only pure in heart but also in spirit. Right from the very moment of conception, she was singularly separated from all sins including the shadows of the original sin. God wanted to reserve the absolutely immaculate and pure womb for God’s Only Son be born of the Virgin Mary. We accept and believe from the Catechism No.491 “Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, “full of grace” through God, was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1854: The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Saviour of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.” God wanted a suitable dwelling place for God’s Son Jesus to be born. Strengthening the declaration, on 25th March, 1858, St. Bernadette asked the Mother Mary who was appearing to her on several occasion: “Would you be so kind as to tell me who you are?” The answer finally came from the lips of Mother Mary herself: “I am the Immaculate Conception.” Let us also vow to live a pure and undefiled spiritual life daily. Mary is the New Eve by her obedience and faith she opened the gates of Heaven for all who believe in Jesus. St. Irenaeus says, “Being obedient she became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race.” Again, the Catechism teaches us in No. 494: “The knot of Eve’s disobedience was untied by Mary’s obedience: what the virgin Eve bound through her disbelief, Mary loosened by her faith.” Comparing her with Eve, they call Mary “the Mother of the living” and frequently claim: “Death through Eve, life through Mary.” Mother Mary from the very moment of birth, she was in the state of grace and purity and free from all sins and its inclinations. The solemn address of the angel calling her “full of grace” (Lk.1:28) presupposes the immaculate conception. Even though a few Fathers of the Church had a hiccups regarding this dogma, it was Franciscans like Venerable John Duns Scotus. showed that for God to preserve Mary from original sin was a greater redemption than to allow her to fall into it and then rescue her. The first reading suggests strongly that Mary as the New Eve through Her, God restored everything that was lost. The responsorial Psalm praise, “Sing to the Lord a new song, for God has done marvellous deeds.” (Ps.98:1). In the second reading we are taught by St. Paul that God has chosen us and Mother Mary’s immaculate conception was the larger plan of God saving the humanity. The Gospel cements the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mother Mary by recalling the Annunciation by the Angel Gabriel who asserted the special favour and status Mary enjoyed from God. The dialogue and disposition of Mary is the proof of obedience, willingness and openness to allow God to use Her as God’s abode for God’s Son Jesus be born in her virginal womb. “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.” (Lk.1:38). It is Her purity and holiness that stand as the exemplar of faith who have been invited by God to believe in Jesus, who is our Redeemer.

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