Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
December 8, 2020 — Year B
Readings: Gn 3:9-15, 20 / Ps 98 / Eph 1:3-6, 11-12 / Lk 1:26-38
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
The Blessed Mother has always been taking good care of her children. Even before she was the mother of the Lord, she had already devoted her life to God’s service.
Many of you know that I grew up in the Philippine Islands in the very small town of Barcelona. Many years ago there was a town jail there, very near to the church. No one was usually in the jail.
There was a man in our town whom everyone loved to hate. He was just bad. Finally, when he was put in jail, and the whole town learned of it, everyone said he deserved to be there. I believe that even that man himself believed he deserved to be there. His siblings would not go to visit him. His other relatives disowned him. Even those who were passing by jeered at him. They were just happy that he was locked up.
But one person was there, morning, noon, and evening. That was his mother. She had always been there for her son. In fact, the mayor of that town was so touched that he told the passersby that even if they did not have respect for the prisoner, they should at least have respect for his mother.
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are celebrating the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary by her mother, Saint Anne. This is a great honor given to her by the Lord God, to preserve her from Original Sin, since she would become a tabernacle for the Son of God.
What is the significance of this in our lives as God’s children? One psychologist has said that the vast majority of the population is tuned in, most of the time, to the radio station WII.FM. It stands for, What’s In It For Me? So what is the significance of this feast for all of us?
To gather together in the evening is difficult. But we are gathered here tonight because it is the feast day of our own Mother. As the Lord Jesus was crucified on the cross, we were all represented by the disciple, St. John. The Lord told him, “Here is your Mother.”
This is a great honor for all of us. The history of the Church tells us that the Blessed Mother has never ever abandoned her children, most especially in times of difficulty. Tomorrow we celebrate the Feast Day of Saint Juan Diego. (Perhaps you have heard of San Diego, California.) The Blessed Mother appeared to him when he was in trouble. His whole country was in trouble for worshipping idols, even sacrificing infants. The Blessed Mother was there. Every time there is a problem within God’s family, with God’s children, for one reason or another, the Mother of God, our Mother, will be there.
In fact, if you search on YouTube, you will find many instances of apparitions during this pandemic. True or not? It takes hundreds of years for the Catholic Church to declare whether or not an apparition is legitimate. But somehow these types of apparitions have awakened our faith. They have reminded us that the Lord God has always used God’s Mother, our Mother, to remind us that we are not alone in this journey.
When we are sad, in trouble, or lonely, what does our posture look like? Do we stand up tall with arms outstretched? No, instead we draw in upon ourselves, with arms folded, into the fetal position, the position of the baby within the mother’s womb. For nine months, we were pretty safe in there. No one could touch us.
Babies currently within the wombs of their mothers during this pandemic have no idea that we are all in trouble. They have no idea that many are depressed, losing jobs, or have just had enough of it. But that little baby is safe because she or he knows that his or her mother will do everything to protect him or her.
The good news is that our Blessed Mother will always be there to protect us. That’s why in her apparition to St. Catherine Labouré, before instructing her to make the Miraculous Medal, she dictated to her the inscription, “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.”
And yes, she will pray for us. After every daily Mass, we pray the Memorare, the first line of which should always be a part of our prayer. This prayer reminds us that the Blessed Mother is always there for us and with us when we say: “Remember, O Most Gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection…was left unaided.”