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 …
Mary is the new Ark of the Covenant because she contains Jesus, who is the true Priest, the Lawgiver, and the Bread of Life. Mary shows us our true dignity. She faces off agains the huge red dragon, and she wins because God is on her side. Be faithful to God and you will win the victory too.
Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the Temple because He was Mary’s first-born Son. At the same time, God is showing His Son to some of God’s friends: Simeon and Anna are people of prayer and they are some of God’s friends. God also uses Simeon to talk to Mary and Joseph about who Jesus will be, and how she will have to suffer. Mary, however, would say that all the suffering was worth it!
Mary was a perfect space for Jesus because she was never cluttered with selfishness. God made her Immaculate because she welcomed Jesus; God wants each of us to welcome Jesus and so become Immaculate like Mary. There’s an old habit of putting one piece of straw in the manger for each kind thing we do before Christmas. What can you do to make a soft place for Jesus?
When Jesus came to earth, He did not begin sorting the good from the bad right away. Instead He came to plant faith on the earth so that there could be an abundant harvest. We have been given the faith, but it needs to grow. Mary helps nourish the faith in our hearts and she helps teach her children to walk. The walk of faith is when we do not rely on the things around us for support, and Mary help us take our first faith steps.
When we are expecting a little brother or sister, we need to get a place ready for them. Jesus is coming into our hearts, so we need to make our hearts ready for Him. This means making our hearts places of peace and love, and getting rid of hatred, sadness, and complaining thoughts. We should also remember to make a little Christmas list for Jesus. We should list a few gifts that we would like to receive from Him this Christmas.
Anyone who has studied Christian art, or just wandered through one of the art galleries in Italy, will quickly notice that a very popular subject for a painting is “Mary with the Baby Jesus and Saints.” Here is a version of that theme, done in mosaic. From the crypt of Dormition Abbey in Jerusalem.
At the beginning of this New Year, I would like to share an image of Mary that seems most appropriate for a new year, Mary Undoer of Knots. May she untie the knots in our lives, and most of all the knots in marriages.
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. God made us for Himself. For millennia he prepared a people and finally a woman to receive His Son. Mary was “unstained” by sin. She was on earth what we are meant to be in Heaven. God has been working in your life to make you ready to “unstained” with Him forever. Christ will be coming for each of us, but He is also come to be with us right here and now at Mass. (8 Dec 2012)
A little preview in anticipation, a blessed Advent to all of you, from St. Mary parish church in Bear Creek, Wisconsin