HOMILY FOR DECEMBER 8, FEAST OF IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY.
THEME: THE SECRET OF MARY!
BY: Benedict Agbo (Rev Fr)
* Gen 3: 9 – 20, Eph 1: 3 – 22, Lk 1: 26 – 38.
God has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. One of such blessings in Christ is the gift of his mother, Jn 19: 26. But very many Christians have been prevented from understanding this because the moment they do, salvation is made easier. Just look at today’s 1st reading and see how the original sin was committed and how God’s redemptive plan was quickly set up: *THE FALL WAS FACILITATED BY THE WOMAN AND THE REDEMPTION WAS TO BE FACILITATED ALSO BY ANOTHER WOMAN.*
In today’s 1st reading, God rolled out 4 questions within one minute, 3 for the man and just 1 for the woman:
*1. Where are you?* (What is your spiritual condition now?) The man confessed his nakedness and fear. God asked the 2nd and 3rd question:
*2. Who told you that you were naked?* (Only the enemy can do this when we commit sin) As soon as the man talked of fear, God asked:
*3. Have you eaten the forbidden fruit?* Then the man pushed the blame over to the woman and then came the 4th question:
*4. What is this you have done?* (A paradigm shift from helpmate to seduction).
The next things that proceeded from the mouth of God were curses and promises of redemption. Yes, curses because sins have their ontological consequences and remain completely unavoidably to human nature. And promise of redemption because God cannot allow the enemy (Satan) to spoil the beautiful work he has created. The blessing was still to come from the woman and her seed through a secret and mystical spiritual enmity. St Louis de Montfort has explained this most aptly in his book, SECRET OF MARY. I cannot discuss that here now but suffice it to say that because the devil is such a proud spirit, a woman destined to ‘crush his head’ is a most gruesome spiritual disaster.
In the gospel, 5 things were revealed:
1. An angel was sent to a Virgin whose name was Mary.
2. The angel declared her FULL OF GRACE. The Church calls her ‘mediatrix of all graces’.
3. She was told not to be afraid (As Adam and Eve were) because she has found favour with God and will produce Jesus.
4. She was also promised full possession of the Holy Spirit (Indwelling Spirit not mere charismatic gift).
5. She confessed her faith: ‘Let it be done to me according to your word’ and so became the first Christian and the highest ancestress of Christian faith. That is why she has the greatest power of warfare among all the Saints. Remember the analogy of snake and the crushing of its head.
The Church progressed very gradually in this understanding. By the 8th century many fathers of the Church had argued that part of God’s design for Mary’s role in salvation as seen from the 1st reading was to make her sinless both before and after the birth of her son . Only such incorruptibily can enable a human being perform such role. It was only in the 19th century that Pope Pius IX declared this a dogma through his bull ‘Ineffabilis Deus’. May God help us to be able to tune into the wavelength of the Church’s magisterial wisdom to understand God’s plan of redemption through Jesus Christ born of the Virgin Mary! May God bless you today!
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