A feast that is close to Christmas that prepares us for Easter

On Tuesday, December 8, the Franciscan community intimately celebrated the feast of the Immaculate Conception. The celebration was presided over by the Custos, Pierbattista Br. Pizzaballa, assisted by the Custodial Vicar, Br. Dobromir Jasztal.

In his homily, the Custos emphasized the dialogue between God and man, now, like in Genesis, between God and Adam, and like in the Annunciation that God makes to Mary through the Archangel Gabriel.

In fact, “The whole Bible is the dialogue […] God speaks to man; He chooses to speak to him; He creates him with His Word […] He does not leave the man alone in his own sin, but seeks him out and speaks to him.”

The Custos then addressed [man’s] fleeing from dialogue [with God]: “When man sinned, he was afraid,” and fled. So, “fear is the first fruit of sin”

Mary, the Immaculate Conception, conceived without sin, “is a woman who does not hide who enters into dialogue with God. […] In the same way that fear is the result of sin, trust is the fruit of grace.” Mary, full of Grace, is full of trust and therefore answers “yes” to the request made by the angel Gabriel to bring Jesus [to the world].

Then, the Custos explained that although the Feast of the Immaculate Conception is close to Christmas, it is even closer to Easter: “It only makes sense in the light of Easter. The grace of Easter really frees us from evil and sin.”

Concluding the homily, with the question directed to God: “Where are you?” We can answer that “We are in His grace, in His love, not by our merit, but by Jesus’ Passover, by His giving of himself trustingly and definitively to the Father, who forever reopened the channel of dialogue between God and man.”


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