Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Patronal Feastday of the United States
of America. The assigned readings are Genesis 3:9-15, 20; Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12; and Luke 1:26-38. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 98 (Psalm 98:1-4).
For one version of the Responsorial Psalm set to music, please visit:
YouTube: Psalm 98 (Responsorial Psalm - Immaculate Conception)
The Gospel reading is as follows:
The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.
Reflections on this celebration and on these readings:
National Catholic Register: Jimmy Akin: 8 Things You Need to Know About the Immaculate Conception (5 DEC 12)
Crossroads Initiative: Immaculate Conception & Mary as a Model of Faith
Dominicana: A Dwelling for the Most High (8 DEC 20)
Catholic News Agency: Pope Francis: the Immaculate Conception is 'one of the wonders of the story of salvation' (8 DEC 20)
National Catholic Register: Commentary: Why the Immaculate Conception Is Biblical (8 DEC 18)
Community in Mission: Mary's Immaculate Conception Is Fitting as Well as Faithful to Scripture (7 DEC 15)
Fr. Tommy Lane: Homily for December 8th - The Immaculate Conception of Our Lady
Homily of John Paul II: Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (8 DEC 2004)