Reflection on Today’s Daily Readings by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM

Today’s Readings

Scripture: Lectionary # Genesis 3:9-15.20. Psalm 98:1.2-3.3-4. Ephesians
1:3-6. Luke 1:26-38:
What a wonderful help for continuing in the spirit of Advent--this Feast of
the Immaculate Conception of Mary, the Mother of Jesus. It centers on her
person who from the first moment of her conception was free from all sin
and would continue in that freedom by the grace of God through the
Incarnation of Jesus, her Son and her Redeemer. It happened in the "kairos"
time of God that she was preserved from all sin. We realize, in speaking
about Mary as Catholics,we should never separate her from the mysteries of
her son, Jesus the Messiah and our Lord.Mary is always to be seen with her
son as we learn from the whole of the Scriptures that reflect upon her
through the evangelists and St. Paul ( Galatians 4:4-5). She is associated
with Jesus in all of his mysteries as Blessed Chaminade says.

One of the most succinct insights gained from an exegetical look at Mary
and Jesus is found in the commentary by Benedict T.Viviano on Matthew 2:11.
It is the only reference to mariology or marian theology per se in the
whole of the New Jerome Biblical Commentary, but it says what we need to
hear and and ponder over:" the child with Mary his mother: The Magi offer a
model of sound mariology as worshippers in a Marian context." That
exegtical comment gives us the way of properly approaching Mary in all of
her mysteries and of not failing her by minimalism or maximalism. Mary and
Jesus therefore are not to be separated even in the mystery of her
Immaculate Conception. At first, we may think this dogma separates her from
us and even from Jesus. Her sole purpose of existence was from the first
moment of her life wrapped in the mystery of God sending his Son to us
through a human person, a real mother. She was in the plan of God to be
that woman called Mary of Nazareth.

In Genesis 3 we have the persons of Adam and Eve who fail in their original
purpose of living always in obedience to God. The new Adam and the new Eve
would recapitulate what had failed through them.The failure is
recapitulated, that is, restored,by the New Adam born of the New Eve. It
was Irenaeus of Lyon who first gave us the theme of recapitulation in the
order of grace within God's salvific plan for the human race. Cardinal John
H. Newman took as his starting point for marian theology this theological
statement and insight of Irenaeus. For the rereading of the Old Testament
in Genesis 3, we found that Patristic thought based on Irenaeus insight
continued to develop Mary as the New Eve. The first Eve in the original
plan was in a special creation immune from sin but had the capacity to
choose sin and did. Mary is the promised woman whose offspring will undo
the work of the serpent by having her son's heel crush the head of that
snake that represented evil. Together then the Promised Woman and her son
brought the victory over the devil.

The reading from Ephesians shows us that all of us in the plan of God were
predestined for salvation. There is no negative predestination present for
anyone who reads carefully the word of God in the Bible. Our text says,
"God has bestowed on us every spiritual blessing. God chose us (and
certainly Mary) before the world began to be holy and blameless in his
sight, to be full of love." Those words though not directly speaking of
Mary are a great insight into what the Immaculate Conception of Mary is all
about. (Ephesians 1:4). Even the word used for love and charity and grace
is bound up to what we will see in Mary's call. She is given a new name in
the Annunciation of Luke. (Luke 1: kecharitomene ho Kyrios meta soul which
translates "you have already been graced by the love of God and the Lord is
with you." The nobility of our calling and that of Mary is present in those
lines. She is the one who through her son's redemptive love and actions
kept her always in the presence of God the Father. She was always present
with her son in those hidden years at Nazareth.

Just as a newness was found in Christ,the Church saw a newness in Mary by
calling her the new Eve. Mary is given a new name that unravels the
mysteries of her vocation and life--"kecharitomene"-- the same word that is
formed from what Paul is speaking about in the love of God and the grace of
blamelessness meant for all of us. This newness is taken up in a beautiful
way by the Psalm when it speaks of a new song being sung to the Lord. We
sing that song in honor of Mary this day. (Psalm 98: "Sing to the Lord a
new song...the Lord has made known his salvation...Sing joyfully to the
Lord all you lands...Sing praise to the Lord before the Lord for he

Mary's cooperation with God in the plan of salvation is the meaning of the
Annunciation Narrative and why it is told by St. Luke. Her paraphrased
name is an indication of who she is in the sight of God-- "the one who has
been loved, graced already". Even the grammatic meaning of the perfect
passive participle shows this to be the sense of her new name. We rejoice
that Mary said Yes to what Gabriel was asking of her. She does respond
after dialoguing and discerning as well as she could the mystery of her
calling, her vocation. Her rational consent is with a graced will and a
loving heart that exploded on the sins of this world.She accepted the
mystery of her vocation.

The reading from Ephesians has high praise for us, but Mary is the person
who first understood and fully lived out that grace coming from God that
made her blameless and full of love. Eve was first called to such a way of
life, but said a No to the Lord with Adam equally responsible with his No.
Mary is not the woman of paradise but of this world that is surrounded in
so many dimensions of sin and evil. She was born of human parents just
like the rest of us. She was gifted with the presence of the Holy Spirit
and through those gifts understood and was full of wisdom when she gave her
acceptance: "Let it be done to me according to thy word." Her Yes was a
commitment to a life which she always lived in the presence of God and her

We honor on this day the most noble calling of the Woman of Promise
(Genesis 3:15) who was full of the grace and love of God. She was blessed
because she believed in the mystery of God's love for her. Her hope and her
love would continue to unfold each day in the presence of her Son and her
God. Today we ask Mary, our spiritual mother, to intercede for us before
God. We celebrate her and sing to her with our new song and we join the
poet who said of her that "She (Mary) is our tainted nature's solitary
boast." Amen.