Friday, December 08, 2006
Friday word, 08 Dec 2006
Immaculate Conception (08 Dec 2006) Gn 3. 9-15,20; Ps 98; Eph 1. 3-6,11-12; Lk 1. 26-38
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Divine Choice, Our Choice
The Trinity’s intention and desire is to reconcile all people and all things to be holy and without blemish before God. Because the Trinity is without beginning and end, the Trinity’s intention and desire is timeless. We humans, however, exist in space and time. These contours of our existence, space and time, restrict us.
Human nature had decided to shrink from reconciling and to exalt itself. We intuit that from personal experience. Religions offer people ways of expressing this truth. Our Christian faith accepts as its own the Jewish narrative of Genesis: God created humans out this divine desire; humans put their intentions above the divine intention; and the result is our fractured world and fractured selves. To use the language of that familiar narrative of Genesis, which begins the Bible, enmity has marred creation from the time the Lord God said to the tempter, who seduced humans to choose exalt themselves over God, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers.”
Our choice in no way diminished the reconciling desire of the Trinity. The Trinity decided in their eternity that the Second Person should also become a human being in order to reconcile humans with one another and with the Trinity. To accomplish this eternal plan the Second Person of the Trinity became incarnate as Jesus, the son of Mary of Nazareth,
a daughter of Abraham.
This was shocking, so shocking that many believers in the God of Abraham refused to accept it. God worked through our human existence and resistance, through our contours of time and space and became one with us and our limited human nature. Our human nature in no way limited the divine nature.
To accomplish this eternal plan God created Mary. God created all things, and Mary gave birth to God. Pondering that shocking truth has led us, the church of Mary’s Son, to profess joyfully that Mary was created without sin fracturing or staining her--immaculately conceived, we profess.
Mary’s beginning, like the end of her human life, when she was translated into divine life without her body suffering decay, enjoyed what we shall one day achieve. We shall not escape the limits space and time place on us nor the effects of sin which have been with us from the beginnings of humanity. None of them nor all of them together can frustrate the divine desire to reconcile all creation. Mary housed the Creator in her womb and gave him human nature. We, too, are temples of Jesus’ Spirit. We render Jesus present by lives which perform deeds of compassion.
Mary, the channel of the divine desire, bids us join her in magnifying our Lord God with our compassion. Mary intercedes for us so that even in our limited and wounded human nature we can make Jesus present and [s]ing to the Lord a new song, who has done marvelous deeds in us. Mary’s immaculate conception is no limiting or dry doctrine. Mary’s immaculate conception is the melody to which our lives sing and make Jesus’ reconciling compassion real in our time and space.
Photo Theotokos by John Donaghy