The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
Created by Michelle Jones,
Contemporary line drawing with digital colour washes,
Created in 2020
© Made for God

The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
Created by Michelle Jones,
Contemporary line drawing with digital colour washes,
Created in 2020
© Made for God

Gospel of 8 December 2020

Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Luke 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. He went in and said to her, 'Rejoice, so highly favoured! The Lord is with you.' She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her, 'Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God's favour. Listen! You are to conceive and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end.' Mary said to the angel, 'But how can this come about, since I am a virgin?' 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you' the angel answered 'and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God. Know this too: your kinswoman Elizabeth has, in her old age, herself conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God.' 'I am the handmaid of the Lord,' said Mary 'let what you have said be done to me.' And the angel left her.

Reflection on the Digital Drawing

Today's artwork is a digital drawing by the sister of one of my seminarian brothers, Sean Henry. Michelle creates these daily digital drawings, as part of her apostolate 'Made for God'. Today's work illustrates the proclamation of the Immaculate Conception of Mary as a dogma of the Church. In 1854, Pope Pius IX's solemn declaration expressed that Mary was conceived free from the stain of original sin. This privilege of Mary derives from God having chosen her as Mother of Jesus Christ. This great gift to Mary, an ordinary human being just like us, was fitting because she was destined to be Mother of God. 

Today's Feast of the Immaculate Conception is not something that is easy to grasp. It is mysterious and miraculous. In our gospel reading today we hear how Mary freely and gladly accepts God's plan. In a great leap of faith and trust in the angel Gabriel's message, Mary says 'Yes'. The moment of 'yes' was a turning point for the world. It is the same for all of us Christians: when we say 'Yes' to God's call, it transforms us, and thus can also transform the world around us…

Like the rest of us, Mary, too, had yet to learn what that 'Yes' actually meant. She said yes to all the joys that would follow in raising Jesus, but also yes to all the sufferings she would witness up close. When we say 'Yes' to God, we join Mary in her answer and her witness and her mission.

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