Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
The Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth. This is the site where the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her the good news that she will be the Mother of God.
As you know I love to travel. I love to travel to other countries to experiences new languages, customs and the FOOD! Years ago a friend taught me the secret to having a fun and adventurous trip. You can only do this when you’re travelling with friends.
You say YES to everything that someone in your group proposes that you do.
That’s right. You never say NO you say YES.
When someone says let’s go parachuting you say YES!
When someone says let’s go horseback riding you say YES!
When someone says instead of sleeping in tomorrow morning let’s get up at 4 am so that we can watch the sun rise over the ocean you say YES!
You never say NO. You say YES and you follow through with it.
When you say YES to everything you create memories that will last a lifetime.
The readings chosen for this feast of the Immaculate Conception are about two invitations from God to go on adventures with him. Both of changed the course of history.
The first reading is that famous story of Adam and Eve that we all learned about in Sunday School as kids. God invited them to spend the rest of their lives with him in paradise. All they had to do was avoid the tree of knowledge. Then along comes the serpent and tempts them into eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge. As a result they were kicked out of the Garden.
They said NO to God’s invitation to go on an adventure with Him. This was the first recorded sin. They YES to the serpent but NO to God.
As a result every human being in history up to today including you and I have been touched by sin because two people thousands of years ago said no to God.
That’s the reason why evil exists in our world. It’s the reason we do the crazy things that we do. It’s the reason why you and I do not always say YES to God when he invites us to go on an adventure with him.
It’s the reason why we either say YES to following God’s commandments or we say NO and we do our own thing because in our minds we think we are allowed to and we don’t care about the consequences.
With one exception. There once was a young woman living in Nazareth in what is now Israel who was fetching water for her home at a well when she was encountered by an angel. This angel told this girl that she was favored by God. God had chosen her to be the mother of his son. You see this angel was inviting this girl, named Mary, to go on the ultimate journey with God to be the mother of his Son.
She said YES. She was able to say yes immediately because before she was born God chose her and spared her from the effects of the first sin committed by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. This freed her to answer with a resounding YES to be the mother of God.
And thank God she said YES because she gave the world the greatest gift that the world has ever seen – our Savior!
Our Savior who came into this world to fill us with true light, joy and peace.
Our Savior who each and every day of our lives invites us on an adventure with him to build his kingdom on earth to share this light, joy and peace with others.
Our Savior who forgives us when we sometimes say NO to him and always gives us another chance to say YES and gives us the grace and wisdom to know that following him is the greatest adventure we can ever undertake in our lives.
Today we ask our Mother Mary, the Immaculate Conception, to pray for us so that we always say YES to her son Jesus whenever and wherever he calls us to go an amazing adventure with Him in spreading his love, joy and peace throughout the earth.
Because when it comes to Jesus we never say no…we always say YES.