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Homily for December 8, 2012: Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception


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Homily for December 8, 2012: Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

 

December 8, 2012 By Deacon Greg Kandra

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[Click here for readings.]

 

In his new book about the infancy of Jesus, Pope Benedict mentions one powerful detail in the gospel we just heard—and it’s something that I have to agree is striking.

 

It is Mary’s aloneness.

 

The pope wrote: “I consider it important to focus on the final sentence of Luke’s Annunciation narrative: ‘And the angel departed from her.’ The great hour of Mary’s encounter with God’s messenger–in which her whole life is changed–comes to an end, and she remains there alone, with a task that truly surpasses all human capacity.

 

It’s a haunting image: a girl with the burden of history on her slender shoulders, preparing to change the world.

 

How frightened she must have felt. How alone she must have felt.

 

It is compelling to think of this in the context of today’s solemnity, when we celebrate Mary being conceived without sin her mother’s womb.

 

This singular woman, alone at the moment of the angel’s visit, is also alone in history. There is no one else like her. 1800 years after her earthly life ended, when she appeared to Bernadette at Lourdes, she didn’t say, “I am an Immaculate Conception.” She said: “I am the Immaculate Conception.” There is no other.

 

And, like no other, she devoted herself to God. Her life became a prayer.

 

In the second chapter of Luke, the evangelist notes twice how Mary absorbed what she lived, and how she responded to it. He writes simply that Mary “kept all these things in her heart.”

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