Immaculate Conception: Tuesday, December 8, we celebrate the Holy Day of Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Immaculate Conception is the conception of Mary in the womb of her mother without any stain of sin. Church doctrine states that, from the first moment of her existence, Mary was preserved by God from the Original Sin and filled with sanctifying grace that would normally come with baptism after birth. Catholics believe Mary was free from any personal or hereditary sin.

But why such a focus on Mary? We must remember that any teaching about Mary must eventually point to Christ. The teaching on the Immaculate Conception points to the grace of God which preserved Mary from sin at her conception in order that she will bear the divine Son of God in her at the Annunciation.

At the Annunciation, Mary made her choice for God’s plan to be fulfilled in her. We have been cleansed of sin at our baptism. It is for us now to remain in God’s grace by choosing to do God’s will always, just as Mary chose to do God’s will. On this feast of the Immaculate Conception, let us also ask for Mary’s intercession for the grace to do God’s will always.

We have 2 Masses on this Holy Day; 8:30 am and 7:00 pm. Let us pray that prayer found on the Miraculous Medal. The prayer goes like this: O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you.

Second Sunday of Advent: Today’s Scripture readings give us all the messages of Advent. Our God is coming! Get ready! Rejoice!

We hear our God speak words of comfort to us in today’s first reading. Like a shepherd, he feeds us and gathers us into his arms. While our God comes among us with power and majesty, he also comes with great tenderness and compassion.

Mark reminds us that God has come to live among us in Jesus. And Jesus will come again in glory to bring us to the banquet which God has prepared for those who love him.

As we wait eagerly for the coming of Jesus and the completion of the kingdom, we are invited to join John the Baptist in preparing the way of the Lord. We are to prepare our own hearts and our world for the return of Jesus.

John reminds us that preparing is repentance, making the road to our heart level and cleared of the stones of selfishness and sin.

That is our daily task as we wait. The eagerness of our longing for Jesus’ return ought to manifest itself in our loving concern to the needs of one another. How we live and love each day announces the good news of God’s continuing love for his people. The comfort we offer to each other reflect the comfort that God has offered to us.

St. Paul reminds us that our concern is to be ready every day for the coming of the Lord. Our consciousness of God’s love for us allows us to wait joyfully, expectantly, ready and eager to use each day well. We have nothing to fear. Our God will come when he chooses to come. Right now, we can be thankful for the patience of our God. He is giving us time to prepare well for his coming.

As we continue to wait eagerly in prayer during this Advent season, let us use this time well to prepare our hearts and our world for the coming of Jesus among us once again. Rejoice, my brothers and sisters! Our God is coming! Let’s continue to get ready!