December 8, we Filipinos will celebrate the feast of Immaculate Concepcion of the Blessed Virgin Mary which is set like a jewel in the observance of Advent. This feast in Advent celebrates our belief that a woman named Mary, like no other human person, has been spared of our human sin from the moment of her own concepcion because of her singular union with God as the mother of Jesus Christ. The feast encourages us to say YES to God.
We heard in the Gospel that Mary accepted this role by responding to the angel: “Behold the servant of the Lord.” The title, Immaculate Conception, denotes that Mary is unique among all persons in that she was conceived without original sin. It is a very lofty title. But note how Mary responded to the angel, “Behold the Servant of the Lord.” The title, Immaculate Conception, is lofty and grand. Mary’s humility in the scene with the angel is profound.
Because she believed all things are possible with God, Mary could say an obedient yes to his invitation for her to represent all humanity in salvation history. This feast of the Immaculate Conception is a striking witness of the purifying force of God’s will in our life of faith as well. Her example motivates us to seek God’s will with confident faith.
We celebrate Mary, who in the face of God’s challenging request of her in his human mission, said an obedient and humble yes. We celebrate the courage and faith of a woman who was surely given to prayer in her heart. We honor her alertness of faith and pray for the same grace.
This is why this feast is so important in the Church year. God chose to begin the Christian story through Mary saying, “Yes, I am God’s servant.”
It is appropriate that, through Mary’s intercession, we ask that the miracle of God’s grace might strengthen us to be men and women of courageous faith as we say YES to the part God asks us to carry as salvation continues to unfold. Our role in the story of salvation will not be as awesome as that of the Mother of God, but in our respective vocations we are instruments of God’s grace, too.
As we honor Blessed Virgin Mary on its feast on Immaculate Concepcion, let us pray for a peaceful election in our country in 2010, swift justice to the departed victims of Maguindanao massacre and peaceful ways to heal the wounds of our country. Gratefully, we say "Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Our Lady, Queen of Peace, pray for us. Amen."