Saint Stephen's Statue.

ST. STEPHEN'S

CATHOLIC CHURCH

 

12, Gbeto Street, Off Iwaya Road, Onike-Iwaya, Yaba-Lagos.
info@ststepheniwaya.org

Saint Stephen's Building.
 

Scripture: 1st Reading: Gen3,9-15,20; Resp. Psalm: Ps98,1-4; 2nd Reading: Eph1,3-6,11-12; Gosp. Accl.: Lk1,28; Gospel: Lk1,26-38

Immaculate ConceptionThe greatest privileges of God in the life of a creature. The excessive manifestations of divine love in the story of a young Jewish girl. The awesome, indescribable expressions of divine goodness poured into the willing soul of an unknown maiden who by the mysterious overshadowing of the power of the Most High, became a mother and yet remained a virgin.

At a point, in the fullness of time, God decided to save humanity from its free descent into the abyss of sin and death. To achieve that, the awesome God, who had power to do whatever He willed and who could save in whatever form He willed, decided to effect our salvation through the same humanity that led us to sin and death. God decided to save us through His only begotten Son, God and man.

The only Son of God, without sin because He did not merit the consequences of Adam's sin since He was in eternity with the Father and was never born from the seed of Adam's descendants, could not have been born in the nature of man if He was to come in the natural way all human beings are born, through a mother that is tainted by original sin that is the lot of every one born from the seed of Adam's descendants. It would be a damage to the divinity and amount to a travesty of divine justice for the humanity to obliterate or cause harm to the divinity of the Son.

God the Architect, Owner and "designer" of the plan of salvation made another plan: He set aside His own natural law. In an inscrutable and mysterious manner, at the conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the eternal Father kept her free from original sin. This was in view of the birth of His own Son that would come through this noble virgin. The First Reading from the book of Genesis today gives us the story of man's fall as a result of the tempter's guile.

The remedy for that fall would come through this virgin of Nazareth. The seed of the woman would bruise the head of the ancient foe and bring about its final destruction. In the fullness of time, that promise became fulfilled when the Angel Gabriel, sent from God, went to Nazareth to relay the news of the conception and birth of the Saviour of mankind to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

That conception would be unheard of, another instance of the setting aside of the law of nature: it was not to be through the natural way of conception but by the Holy Spirit who would come upon her and the power of the Most High that would overshadow her, thereby assuring that the Child that would be born of her would be called holy, the Son of God.

At such display of unmerited favour, the Virgin replied and gave assent to the plan of the Almighty: "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." With that positive response, salvation came into the world, the dreams of generations became fulfilled, the gates of hell was thrown open and the barrier that separated God from man became bridged.

The Blessed Virgin was privileged in view of the roles she was going to be called upon to play in the history of salvation. With her, we are privileged with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. Unworthy as we are, God chose us before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before Him and destined us in love to be His children.

As we celebrate the Immaculate Conception today, we give thanks to God who did not abandon the humanity He created. We thank Him for the painstaking preparations He made for the coming of His Son. We thank Him for the gift of this priceless woman, full of beauty and grace, who He chose to be the mother of His Son and for preserving her from the stain of original sin by the merits of His Son and for the good of our salvation.

May the mother Mary continue to intercede for us. May she continue to lead us to her Divine Son. May the example of her holy life and perfect devotion to God inspire us to dedicate our entire lives to God and His service. May the grace of her holy conception spur us to greater desire for holiness of life.

Let us pray: "O God, who by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin prepared a worthy dwelling for your Son, grant, we pray, that, as you preserved her from every stain by virtue of the Death of your Son, which you foresaw, so, through her intercession, we, too, may be cleansed and admitted to your presence." Amen.

May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always. Have a blessed celebration.

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