The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed
After the man, Adam had eaten of the tree, the Lord God
called to the man and asked him, "Where are you?" He answered,
"I heard you in the garden, but I was afraid, because I was naked, so
I hid myself." "Then he asked, Who told you that you were naked?
You have eaten, then, from the tree of which I had forbidden you to
eat!" The man replied, "The woman whom you put here with me-she
gave me fruit from the tree, and so I ate it." The LORD GOD then
asked the woman, "Why did you do such a thing?" The woman
answered, "The serpent tricked me into it, so I ate it."
Then the LORD GOD said to the serpent:
"Because you have done this, you shall be banned from all the animals
and from all the wild creatures; on your belly shall you crawl, and dirt
shall you eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and
the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike at your
head, while you strike at his heel." The man called his wife Eve,
because she became the mother of all the living.
The Word of the Lord
St. Paul to Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12
Brothers and sisters: Blessed be the God and
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every
spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the
foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him. In
love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in
accord with the favor of his will, for the praise of the glory of his
grace that he granted us in the beloved.
In him we were also chosen, destined in accord with the
purpose of the One who accomplishes all things according to the intention
of his will so that we might exist for the praise of his glory, we who
first hoped in Christ.
The Word of the Lord.
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 what sort of greeting this might
be. Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have
found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a
son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son
of the Most High and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his
father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his
kingdom there will be no end." But Mary said to the angel, "How
can this be, sine I have no relations with a man?" And the angel said
to her in reply, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power
of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will
be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has
also conceived a son in her old age and this is the sixth month for her
who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God." Mary
said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me
according to you word." Then the angel departed from her.
Gospel of the Lord
"Hospitality to the Mother of Jesus"
Mary, the quality of your visit to Elizabeth draws me to
prayer. You teach me so much about welcoming others and of being
other-centered. You hurried quickly to where the need was. You thought of
Elizabeth. You gave her joy, hope and promise, or rather, you allowed the
Lord to do all of that through you. You believed in the promise made to
you by your God. Is that why you could give and share, and visit the way
you did? You touched Elizabeth's spirit and she felt the goodness of God
in her life. Mary, you understood how well God's great love for you. You
trusted him so totally. Your welcoming presence met Elizabeth and she
cried out in recognition of the fullness of God within you.
Mary dear woman of God pray for us, that we can be
spiritual people of quality, of promise, of welcoming presence. Help us to
be full of hospitality, welcoming the Christ in all and allowing the
Christ within us to be met and visited. Amen.