Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The Immaculate Conception. The belief cherished from earliest Christianity that the Blessed Virgin Mary was conceived without original sin was defined as dogma in 1854 by Pope Pius IX.
St. Eutychian, Pope († 283). The 27th successor of St. Peter. He ruled the Church after St. Felix, during a period of intense persecution, receiving the crown of martyrdom himself under the Emperor Numerian.
St. Romaric, abbot († 653). Abandoning his high station of advisor to King Theodobert, he retired to the monastery of Luxueil, France, and later built Remiremont, of which he serves as abbot for 30 years.
St. Theobald of Marly, abbot († 1247). Originally a knight in the court of the French king Philip Augustius, he later entered the Cistercian Monastery of Les Vaux de Cernay, of which he became abbot. He was renowned for his sanctity while yet alive, and enjoyed the esteem of King St. Louis..
St. Patapios, hermit (†4th / 5th century). After living several years as a hermit on the outskirts of Thebes, Egypt, he relocated to the desert of Constantinople, where he continued his life of austerity.
St. Macarius of Alexandria, martyr († 250). Urged to renounce Christ, he professed the Faith with even greater firmness and was burned alive as a result in Alexandria, Egypt.
St. Narcisa de Jesús Martillo Moran, virgin († 1869). A humble seamstress in Ecuador, and an ardent devotee of Jesus Crucified, she led a life of continuous prayers and penances
Blessed Aloysius Liguda, priest and martyr († 1942). Polish priest of the Society of the Divine Word, arrested with his entire community by the Nazis, and taken to the Dachau concentration camp where he was cruelly murdered by the guards some years later, when his health began to fail.
Blessed José Maria Zabal Blasco, martyr († 1936). Layman, father of a family, shot in Valencia during the Spanish Civil War.
First Reading – Gn 3:9-15, 20
After the man, Adam, had eaten of the tree, the LORD God called to the man and asked him, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard You in the garden; but I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid myself.” Then He asked, “Who told you that you were naked? You have eaten, then, from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat!” The man replied, “The woman whom You put here with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and so I ate it.” The LORD God then asked the woman, “Why did you do such a thing?” The woman answered, “The serpent tricked me into it, so I ate it.”
Then the LORD God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, you shall be banned from all the animals and from all the wild creatures; on your belly shall you crawl, and dirt shall you eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel.”
The man called his wife Eve, because she became the mother of all the living.
Responsorial Psalm – Ps 98:1, 2-3ab, 3cd-4 (R. 1a)
R. Sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done marvelous deeds.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for He has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for Him,
his holy arm. R.
The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations He has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel. R.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise. R.
Second Reading – Eph 1:3-6, 11-12
Brothers and sisters: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as He chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before Him. In love He destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, for the praise of the glory of his grace that He granted us in the beloved.In Him we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the One who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will, so that we might exist for the praise of his glory, we who first hoped in Christ.
Gospel – Lk 1:26-38
The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a Son,
and you shall name Him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give Him the throne of David his father,
and He will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“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, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.