God confronts Adam and Eve after they have eaten of the tree forbidden them by God and curses the serpent for his action.
Sing to the Lord for he has done wondrous deeds.
In Christ, we were chosen to be adopted children of God.
The angel Gabriel appears to Mary to announce the birth of Jesus, and Mary responds, “Let it be done to me as you say.”
Background on the Gospel Reading
Today we celebrate the feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This feast celebrates God's choice of Mary to be the mother of Jesus. God preserved Mary from the stain of original sin from the moment of her conception. Thus, Mary was the first to receive the benefit of the redemption that her Son would merit for all.
To reflect upon this mystery, the Gospel reading for today presents to us the story of the Annunciation. It is through her exchange with the angel Gabriel that Luke, the Evangelist, introduces the person of Mary. The Annunciation begins in the context of Luke's account of the birth of John the Baptist. “In the sixth month,” referring to Elizabeth's pregnancy, the angel Gabriel appears to a virgin of Nazareth—Mary. Indeed, there are many parallels in Luke's accounts of the births of John the Baptist and Jesus.
In this passage, Luke tells us much about Mary and the child she is to bear. We learn that Mary is a virgin from Nazareth who is betrothed to a man named Joseph, who was of the house of David. The angel greets Mary in the most glowing of terms, acknowledging the favor she has found with God. The son Mary is to conceive is described in messianic terms. He will be called “Son of the Most High” and the “Son of God.”
Mary is bold in her exchange with the angel. She is troubled by his greeting and questions the message, asking “How am I to bear a son if I have no relations with a man?” Mary is told that she will conceive through the power of the Holy Spirit and is offered a sign in the miraculous pregnancy of her elder cousin Elizabeth.
Mary's affirmative response to this seemingly impossible message gives evidence to the grace we know that she possesses from God. Only one who is “full of grace” can be so receptive to and cooperative with the will of God. Because of this, Mary is the model of discipleship for all Christians.