Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Immaculate Conception

When we celebrate the Immaculate Conception on December 8th each year, it is a common mistake to think we are celebrating the Immaculate Conception of Jesus. At Mass on the Immaculate Conception the Gospel is always the Annunciation. Because the Archangel Gabriel appears to Mary to tell her about the child she would have, sometimes people think that is the conception which is called immaculate. But the Immaculate Conception is about the conception that prepared Mary for this moment; the time where she would choose whether or not to participate in God's plan for salvation.

In the Gospel, the angel Gabriel says, "Hail Mary full of Grace." In Greek the word used, κεχαριτωμένη, is a perfect passive participle of χαριτοω meaning "to fill or endow with grace." The tense indicates that Mary was graced from the instant she first existed in her mother's (Anne's) womb (well before Gabriel visited) and ever since. It might be best understood as her being so full of grace that sin can not enter her.

The first Mass celebrating the Immaculate Conception will be tonight (Wednesday) at 5:30 p.m. There will also be Masses Thursday at 6:20, 8:15, 12:10, 5:30 and 7 p.m. It is such a special event that it is considered a Holy Day of Obligation.

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