Nothing is Impossible with God
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary
On this day, brothers and sisters, we are celebrating the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of our Blessed Virgin Mary. One big word seems to confront us: immaculate. The word immaculate comes from the Latin word macula which means spot or stain. By adding the prefix ‘im’ it renders the word in the negative form. Thus we have the English word immaculate which means without stain or spot. Today’s solemnity celebrates the Immaculate Conception of Mary which states that she was conceived without the stain of original sin. Another question may come to our mind: is it possible that a human person is conceived without sin? Isn’t it that when we are conceived and born, we have original sin in us? Yet our faith tells us that nothing is impossible with God.
In our First Reading, we hear about the fall of the first man and woman into sin through the insinuation of the serpent which led them to disobey the command of God. They were not supposed to eat from the tree that God has forbidden them. With their disobedience they were punished. And yet God also made a promise to them directing it to the serpent, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; they will strike at your head, while you strike at their heel” (Gen 3:15). God offered them and the whole of humanity hope for a Savior. Sometimes we easily lose hope and give up whenever we are in difficulty yet, do we not know that nothing is impossible with God and that He has shared with us His hope since the beginning of time?
Saint Paul in our Second Reading proclaims to us a hymn to the Blessed Trinity which begins with the work of the Father who has fully blessed us in Christ and “chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish” (Eph 1:4). Thus our first calling is to be sinless and Mary’s privilege was sinlessness from the very beginning. Mary was the first to hope in Christ and her’s was a choice to sinlessness in a privileged manner, anticipated because of her Son. God wanted all of us to be with Him by sending us Jesus born of a woman. Are we always aware that God cares for us each day and that this is not impossible with Him? As Christians, are we living up to the challenge of living exemplary lives by virtue of our Baptism?
The Gospel gives us a glimpse of the annunciation event. The angel Gabriel greeted Mary with these words, “Hail, favored one!” (Lk 1:28). The Greek rendition of this greeting is kecharitomene which means that the one being greeted was filled with grace and favor since the beginning and at that present time. Indeed it was an affirmation of Mary as being immaculately conceived for she was filled with grace and favor from the Lord from the moment of her conception and was proclaimed to her by the angel. When she was commissioned to be the mother of our Lord she asked, “How can this be?” Yet the angel replied to her, “Nothing is impossible with God” (Lk 1:37).
Mary was conceived without original sin and lived up to it until the end by God’s grace. We may not be immaculately conceived yet this is also a call for all of us. How can this be? I am just a simple man or woman. “Sapagkat ako ay tao lamang at nagkakasala din.” “Sorry po. Tao lang po.” These are responses from ordinary people whenever they are confronted with the reality of this mystery. Yet this should not be so for, nothing is impossible with God and for all of us who have received the grace of Baptism, we share in the priestly, prophetic, and kingly ministry of Christ. As priests we are given the grace to offer prayers and sacrifices in behalf of the people. As prophets, we are empowered to proclaim the Word of God to everyone especially to the poor, the abandoned, and the desperate through the witness of our lives. Our simple words of encouragement to a member in our family is already a gesture of hope and care. As kings, we are given the grace to be of service to our needy brothers and sisters, sharing our precious time, talent, and treasure to them. Parents can spend time with their children and listen to their concerns in work and study. Children can also devote their presence with their fellow siblings more and to help their parents in household chores. Are these impossible for us to do and live out?
The Immaculate Conception of Mary is an act of God to her. She was given the privilege of being the Mother of Jesus, the Son of God, and by obedience she willingly accepted it in her life. She has placed all her faith and hope in the Lord knowing that with Him nothing is impossible. This solemnity also encourages us that if Mary was given this particular favor by God, we, too share in this grace by virtue of our Baptism. In this Eucharistic celebration we renew the promises we took during our Baptism and ask the Lord for strength and courage to live up to the tests of daily life. Let our lives be a constant hymn proclaiming to the world that nothing is impossible with God. Are we ready to live out our faith and hope with Mary and Jesus with us?
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