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.
That 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God originally made the world to be like that.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.
As 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.
God 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.