December 4, 2022

Please remember that this Thursday, December 8, is a Holyday of Obligation as we celebrate the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary. This Feast celebrates Mary as conceived without taint of Original Sin in order that she may be worthy to bring the Son of God, Jesus Christ into the world in his human nature while retaining the fullness of his divine nature as God at the same time. The Vigil Mass on December 7 is at 4:00pm and on the Holyday itself: 6:30 and 9:00am, noon and 7:00pm. The Immaculate Conception is also the patroness of our country. The Gospel reading for this beautiful Feast recounts the moment when the Archangel Gabriel visited the Virgin Mary and announced to her that she would be the mother of the Son of God and name him Jesus.

This event in the lives of Jesus and Mary is called the Annunciation and is pictured on the left wall of the sanctuary in the new medallions. Mary is in her bedroom (notice the bed in the background) and it is filled with light as the Archangel Gabriel enters in majestic clouds. As he offers his greeting: “Hail full of grace, the Lord is with you”, he presents a lily, the symbol of purity to Mary, who is dressed in red, the color of virginity in the time of Christ, and blue, the color of mother-hood in the same era. The Holy Spirit in the form of a dove hovers over the scene to show that Jesus was conceived by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit. Mary’s eyes are downcast as she humbly accepts her new role in Salvation History. The Annunciation colors all the events in Mary’s life as she not only becomes the mother of our Savior, but also his first and best disciple. 

The medallion on the right side of the sanctuary portrays the reward Mary received for faithfully following God’s will as mother and disciple of Jesus. Mary is crowned queen of heaven and earth after her glorious Assumption of both her body and her soul in the kingdom of heaven. The picture shows of majesty yet intimacy of Mary’s relationship to the persons of the Bless Trinity. The brightness of the colors reflect the majesty of the scene. God the Father 
wears a gold mantel as the symbol of his majesty. Mary is the daughter of the father just as her sons and daughters of God by our baptism. Mary was granted this privilege from the first moment of her conception. Jesus wears a red mantel soaked in the blood of his redemptive work for our sakes. Mary is mother of the son and shared in Jesus’ redemptive work by accepting us as her children at the foot of the cross. As in the other medallion, the Holy Spirit in the 
form of a dove hovers over the scene. Mary is the Immaculate Spouse of the Holy Spirit because Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit in Mary’s virginal womb. Mary’s garments gleam with the glory of heaven. They are white and a lighter shade of blue that reflects the glory of her new home. May we who honor her on her feastday share one day in her glory