This homily is written with the understanding that I will be saying something like this to young children, under the age of 13. The Immaculate Conception is the conception of Mary, not Jesus. Remember Jesus is conceived at the Annunciation on March 25. Mary’s parents are traditionally known as Ann and Joachim. They were not free from sin and had original sin. Their daughter Mary is conceived without sin, nor did she sin during her lifetime. This is what I plan to share with the children.
I am the oldest in my family. Is anyone here also the oldest? Sometimes being the oldest is kind of hard. But there are special times too. I have three brothers and three sisters. I remember one time when my Mom was pregnant with one of my brothers. One day she told me to come and put my hand on her tummy. To my surprise I felt my brother kicking. I was amazed. You could really feel the little child kick. I knew this was truly a baby. And once my brother was born, we would go to church and have the baby baptized. In the sacrament of baptism, original sin is washed off our soul and we become sons and daughters of God.
When Mary was born, God had filled her with grace. God had a special plan for Mary. He wanted Mary to be the mother of Jesus. To be the mother of Jesus, God wanted a person who would be holy. She would not have any sin. And during her life she would not commit any sin. She would be the perfect person to be the mother of Jesus.
Jesus gave us the sacraments. Jesus wants all of us to be saved and to come live with Him in heaven. Because we make mistakes and fall into sin, we need Jesus’ sacraments to bring us back into grace. And we promise to try to be better. Then we can trust in the promise Jesus gave us. That one day we will be in heaven with Him.
Do you suppose Mary had to be saved like we do? Mary would be saved but not like we do. Because God filled Mary with grace, God saved Mary before she was born. She was born without sin. God protected her in a special way. Think of it this way. When my children were growing up, we would go outside after a rainstorm and they would have great fun jumping in mud puddles. They would get soaked and muddy. Then I would have them come in and take a shower and get cleaned up. I would wash their clothes. This is what happens to us now. We get into mudpuddles and need to be cleaned up through the sacrament of confession. Mary did not need to be cleaned this way. When she would be out by the mudpuddles, just as she might fall into a mudpuddle, God would reach out and catch her before she would get dirty. This is the special gift of the grace God gave.
Jesus came to save all of us, even His mother. Jesus would want His mother to be our mother too. We can always turn to Mary and ask her to take our prayers to Jesus. She knows best how to ask her son for special graces. Mary teaches us how to love Jesus. Sin is an action we do that says we do not love Jesus. Asking Mary to help us learn to love her son will help to one day be with her son in heaven.
May the Lord bless you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen