1. Thoughts to Think
a. The Angel Gabriel greeted Mary as “Hail, FULL OF GRACE!” (Lk 1: 28)
>> The word used by the Angel to address Mary in Greek is “Kecharitomene” (kecheri-to-mene) which means “Full of Grace!”
>> Mary is given this new title, a new name – “Full of Grace” – to clearly tell that “that an action has been completed in the past, resulting in the present state of being.”
b. Gen 3:15 – “enmity between you and the woman..” – refers to Mary as the New Eve
>> This verse refers to the enmity between satan and the Woman and Her Offspring Jesus.
>> Mary is the New Eve Who is conceived Immaculate, just as the old Eve had a sinless start. Mary would be instrumental in bringing forth Jesus, the Sinless One Who would crush the head of satan.
c. Lk 1:35-57: Mary is presented as the New Ark of the Covenant
>> The Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth is a beautiful retelling of the prototype found in 2 Sam 6:9-16, where the Ark of the Covenant is welcomed by King David into the city.
>> This points to Mary as being the New Ark of the Covenant – holy and sanctified – Who now has a dwelling in heaven (Rev 11:19-12:2)
d. Lk 1:42: Elizabeth refers to Mary as being “most blessed among all women!”
>> Elizabeth recognizes the Holy Presence of Mary and acknowledges the Immaculate nature of Mary by exclaiming: “Blessed are You among women, and Blessed is the Fruit of Your Womb!”
2. Pointers to Ponder
a. The Immaculate Conception points to the Immaculate nature of Mary
>> Just as Mary was “conceived immaculate”, each of us, at our Baptism were washed off our original sin and called to a life of holiness.
… Do we seek to preserve this “Immaculate nature” to which we are called to live?
b. The Immaculate Conception points to the mighty work of creation and transformation that God can bring about in a person
>> Mary singularly was privileged to be “conceived pure.” We are privileged to be receive this Grace to be Immaculate, every time we turn away from sin, especially through the Sacrament of Reconciliation
… Are we open to allow God’s Spirit to re-create and transform us into new persons?
3. Connecting to Christmas: The Christmas Stars
a. The stars guided the Magi (the three Kings) to the place of Christ’s Birth and is a reminder of the fulfilment of God’s promises (Num. 24:17, we read, “A star will come out of Jacob; a sceptre will rise out of Israel.”)
b. Stars remind us follow the signs given by God to come closer to Him
c. The Christmas stars invite us “to shine as stars lighting up the sky” (Phil 2:5), to dispel the darkness of sin.
The Christmas Star – symbolic of having high dreams, high aims and high visions – invites us to have a renewal of our minds (Rom 8: 1) and to have our hearts set on heavenly things (Mt 6:33) and thus to always be Immaculate, inspired by our Blessed Mother.
4. Actions to Achieve
a. Every day spend a few minutes (even 5 minutes) to read the Bible and to be sanctified by the Word
b. Be open to see at least “one star of God’s sign” in and around us (Church, people, situations) and make a necessary change towards holiness.
(eg. I may be short-tempered person. But through the advices/observances people around me, I realise that I need to be gentler. So see this star of “being gentle” and make the necessary change)
Let us hold Mamma’s Hands and learn from Her, as we pray:
“Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus…
… Be born in me, this Christmas!”
God Bless! Live Jesus!