I preached this at a Mass for a Catholic grade school, and only touched in passing on the meaning of saying Mary, the Immaculate Conception, was conceived immaculate, that is, free of all stain of sin. Instead, I spoke of Mary’s role and relationship in regards to Christ and to us.
Immaculate Conception … those big words are the name we give to Mary today.
Mary is the Immaculate Conception.
Those words mean that Mary’s life began without her being touched in any way by sin.
Before God made Mary, he already had a plan that her whole life would get the world ready for Jesus later to come down from heaven to be her baby.
Today in the Gospel reading, we see that God sent an angel to Mary.
The angel called Mary, Full of Grace.
God sent the angel to say that Mary is ALREADY Full of Grace.
That is strange, because only God is Full of Grace.
When the angel calls Mary, Full of Grace, it does not mean that Mary is God.
It means that Mary is different from all other people on earth.
After the angel of God calls Mary, Full of Grace, the angel tells her that the power of the Holy Spirit is going to help Mary.
The angel also tells Mary that the Son of God is going to come down from heaven to be Mary’s baby.
The angel says that Mary’s baby is going to grow up and save the whole world.
Mary understands that her baby is going to be important, special and holy.
Mary understands that God wants to do something important, special and holy by making her the mother of this baby.
So, Mary tells the angel, Yes, I will obey the plan of God, and I will do whatever he wants me to do.
Even though Mary is special, God wants us to be like her.
Because the Son of God came down from heaven to become also the Son of Mary, you and I are closer to God now.
One day, just like Mary, you and I will no longer be touched by sin.
Later on, after Jesus died and came back to life, and then stepped up into heaven, Mary stayed with the apostles of Jesus.
One day, while the apostles were praying together with Mary, the Holy Spirit came down on the apostles and gave them special power.
So, because Mary prayed with the apostles, the Holy Spirit of God came and gave the apostles special power.
With that special power from the Holy Spirit, the apostles told a whole of three thousand people to love Jesus and join the Church.
Because of that special power from the Holy Spirit, those three thousand people listened.
They decided to love Jesus and join the Church.
It happened because the apostles were praying together with Mary the mother of Jesus.
When good things happen to people and to the Church, it is because Mary and the apostles are praying for God’s Holy Spirit to help us.
That’s why one of our most important prayers says:
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.
Turn. Love. Repeat.