Immaculate Conception Homily

Pope Benedict at the Spanish Steps in Rome for a prayer to the Immaculate Virgin on December 8
Pope Benedict at the Spanish Steps in Rome for a prayer to the Immaculate Virgin on December 8

Here is your humble preacher’s homily for today’s Solemnity…

The Solemnity of our Lady’s Immaculate Conception takes us back to the Garden of Eden. It takes us back to the life our First Parents had before they sinned.

sistine-appleThat life is deep in the misty past now; it is like a dream. It is hard for us now even to imagine how fresh and lovely everything was in the garden. Nothing had grown old; nothing had withered. Everything was vigorous and full of life. Everything was full of promise and possibility.

God originally made the world to be like that. He created us in innocence. We could have lived that way forever—without any deceit or betrayal, without any hurt or meanness, without selfishness or hardness of heart.

cast-outAs we know all too well, the human race did not persevere in innocence. We sinned. We had to leave the garden. Years, centuries, millennia went by—and the world grew cynical and crusty with malice, ignorance, and sorrow.

The Garden of Eden was never completely forgotten. Like I said, it became like a dream. The holy men and women of ancient times were burdened by the raggedness of the sinful world. But they longed for a fresh start, for a new birth, for another garden of freshness and promise.

God answered. God planted the new Garden in the womb of St. Ann. God made a new Eve, untouched by the sin of the world, to be the mother of the new Adam.

We human beings cannot refresh the world. We cannot make the world clean and promising and new. But God can.

immaculataGod can bring good out of evil. God can turn the cross, which was an instrument of inhuman torture, the perfect symbol of mankind’s inveterate malice—God can turn the cross of agony and death into the tree of life.

God can give the world a new Eve, a new mother. And He did! He made the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Today is the day He made her in her mother’s womb, small and beautiful and pure. And the world began anew.

4 thoughts on “Immaculate Conception Homily

  1. Beautiful, Father. Thank-you.

    And with the gift of the Sacrament of Penance we can all begin again, pure and new, this Christmas season.

  2. Father,
    Can you enlighten those of us who are hopelessly ignorant? How are the Spanish Steps linked to the Immaculate Conception?

  3. “Following the papal encyclical of Pius IX in 1854, the Column of the Immaculate Conception was erected near the Collegio Di Propaganda Fide (the Jesuit College for the propagation of the faith), at the southern end of the Piazza Di Spagna (Spanish Square). Designed by Luigi Poletti, it is an ancient Roman column topped by a statue of Mary, in honor of her Immaculate Conception.

    Ever since its dedication in 1857, it is a papal tradition to visit this monument on December 8th and crown the statue of Mary with a garland of flowers, following which the faithful would then place flowers at the base of the column in homage to the immaculate, sinless Mary.”

    [I found this explanation on a Catholic-bashing fundamentalist website, but I believe it is accurate.]

  4. It would appear that you have a number of years of preaching ahead on thes Marian holy days. I cringe a lot on these holy days in listening to the pontificating over things that only seminarians most talk about. Next year can you tie some of this into your life, into the rest of the real world. In the real world, where the English translation of Notre Dame is Our Lady, and most Catholics cheer for the Fighting Irish. How can you be cheering for Georgetown? Cheer cheer for Old Notre Dame.
    For example…..see
    http://paperlessworld.wordpress.com/2009/01/02/the-feast-of-the-circumcision/

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