Readings and Reflection for December 8, Wednesday Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary; Queen and Patroness of Nigeria


“I will put enmity between your seed and her seed.”
A reading from the Book of Genesis  (Genesis 3:9-15.20)

[After Adam had eaten of the tree,] the Lord God called to him and said, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent beguiled me, and I ate.” The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all cattle, and above all wild animals; upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.

The word of the Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm98:1.2-3ab.3cd-4 (R. lab)
R/. O sing a new song to the Lord,
for he has worked wonders.

O sing a new song to the Lord, 
For he has worked wonders.
His right hand and his holy arm  
have brought salvation. R/.

The Lord has made known his salvation, 
has shown his deliverance to the nations. 
He has remembered his merciful love 
and his truth for the house of Israel. R/.

All the ends of the earth have seen 
the salvation of our God.
Shout to the Lord, all the earth;  
break forth into joyous song, 
and sing out your praise. R/.

”God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world.”
A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Ephesians (Ephesians 1:3-6.11-12)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In him, according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to the counsel of his will, we who first hoped in Christ have been destined and appointed to live for the praise of his glory.

The word of the Lord.

ALLELUIA  Luke 1:28
Alleluia. Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women. Alleluia.

“Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke (Luke 1:26b-38)

At that time: The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end.” And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I know not man?” And the angel said to her, “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, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

The Gospel of the Lord.

On this Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we celebrate the holiness of Mary. This lofty mystery of gift and grace may tempt us to think that Mary, because she was full of grace, had no difficulty in saying “Yes” to God’s plan. The Gospel shows just the opposite: a Mary who struggled. Twice she was troubled: first, when the angel greeted her as one “full of grace”; and second, when told she would conceive despite having “no relationship with a man”. Just like us, she wondered, she struggled, she questioned, and she was troubled. The Gospel reveals a double gift; first, God’s gift of holiness to Mary and her call to bear the incarnate one; and second, her assent:” may it be done to me.” The same gift of holiness is offered to us. Although occasionally troubled about God’s plan for us, we are doubly gifted like Mary. These gifts, unmerited and freely given, invite us to give our assent: “May it be done to me.”


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