Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary
FEAST OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF MARY
Dec. 8, 2018
Homily given by Deacon Steve Letourneaux
Born 1946 in Brooklyn,New York, I have lived through some amazing times (and still do)! Those of us of “seasoned age” could make quite a list of these amazing times. I recall the “original” Dodgers…the Brooklyn Dodgers, The Bums as we fondly called them. And, thru the magic of METV, ANT we can all relive the amazing times of 50’s TV. Now, THAT was real television!
- The Lone Ranger
- The Cisco Kid
- Have Gun Will Travel
Of course there was much more than just westerns:
- Shock theater (Where every Friday night would cringe in a corner convinced that some monster or gigantic bug would do me in!)
- I Love Lucy
- The Honeymooners
- Bishop Sheen! WOW.
And I can’t forget DRAGNET with Sergeant Joe Friday and his neverending quest for “Just the facts, Ma’am, just the facts.
” Today’s Gospel from Luke are “just the facts”. For a long time it confused me that the Old Testament is such a huge book in comparison to our 4 Gospels. The Old Testament gives us facts of course, but it is loaded with details and background and imagery. Right from our first reading, Genesis, Chap. 3, we are introduced to the woman - we now know it is Mary - “I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your offspring and hers.” All of those volumes of the Old Testament become theologically crystal clear with the coming of Jesus.
Thanks, Fr. Gary, for giving us background and details as to how this doctrine of the Immaculate Conception came to be promulgated by Pope Pius IX, Dec. 8, 1854.
Our Gospel of the Annunciation story is indeed fact, but I am betting there is loads of background and detail not included. Possibly not included because it wasn’t important to faithful Jewish people of the time. They knew their Scripture well and they could get who this Jesus claimed to be…but believing that this was our long promised redeemer was not easy: Believing His message, believing His promises, believing His mission.
I have no idea if this history-changing acceptance by Mary…let it be done unto me according to your word…happened in the 3 minutes it took us to read the account. Were there a few visits and conversations with Gabriel? Did Gabriel spend some time with Mary, a young lady, to tie in Jewish Scripture with what was being asked of her? Did Gabriel maybe say at one point, Mary, think it over, pray about it…this can be done because Nothing is Impossible with God? The message today, at least for me, is Mary’s Yes - Gabriel, as you say, I will do it…I may not understand how or even why, but I will say YES to my God!
Unquestionably, our God has plans for us, has a mission for each one of us by way of our Baptism. As God said to Jeremiah, before you were formed in the womb I knew you, and I have plans for you, He also knows us and has plans for us. I doubt if any one of us have the same mission from our God. The mission goes far beyond I want you to become a Catholic, far beyond I want you two guys in the Parish to be ordained Deacons, far beyond I want you, Gary Krahenbuhl to be a priest. What is God asking of you, of Dennis and me, of Fr. Gary? How does God want to use us in His service? Paul brilliantly calls humanity “the ones our God destined for adoption to Himself through Jesus Christ”.
Can each of us take the personal mission God gives us and pledge as Mary did YES MY GOD, I WILL DO IT even though I may not understand how or even why?
If we can, if we will, then, for sure, those amazing times we have already lived through will be even better because NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD! And all these things, my friends, are just the facts!