December 8th, 2008 (see other dates)
The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Solemnity, Holy Day of Obligation)
Discussion Questions for Reading 1What is the difference between sin and temptation? Adam said "I was afraid." Do you think that being afraid sometimes tempts us to do things that we are ashamed of? In this story of the first sin, we see some of its effects: who did Adam blame? Who did Eve blame? Were they free to choose? Who among all humans was sinless?
Reading 1 Genesis 3:9-15, 20
Reading 1 ReflectionThis reading tells the story of God's punishment of the serpent, the symbol of evil, for tempting Adam and Eve to the first sin. The story concludes with a powerful symbol of hope and mercy. The offspring of Adam and Eve would one day crush the head of the serpent, the symbol of the power of evil.
Our Catholic faith teaches us that Jesus is "the new Adam" and Mary, his mother, is "the new Eve." From Mary's sinless body the Son of God became one of us and brought new life to all.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2Mary was chosen to be the mother of Jesus. Why did God choose us? What does it mean to be holy?
Can we say "yes" to God and his plan for us? This reading tells us we were chosen to be "full of love." What do we need in our hearts and lives to be full of love? What must be kept out of our hearts and lives so they can be full of love? What prayers honoring Mary remind us what kind of a human person she was?
Reading 2 Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12
Reading 2 ReflectionIn this reading we are reminded that God chose us in Jesus Christ "before the foundation of the world to be holy and without blemish in his sight."
If we were so chosen, all the more so was Mary. Even from her conception in her mother's womb, Mary was not separated from God by sin. And so we pray: O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you!
Discussion Questions for GospelThe first step in our salvation in Jesus Christ is begun in Mary's simple "May it be done." How does your life reflect this statement? The angel said to Mary, "Do not fear." How do these words also connect this event, the annunciation, to the story of Adam and Eve? What are two sentences in this reading that tell us about how Mary felt? What are the words Mary said that show she accepted God?s will, even if she was puzzled and afraid? Pray the Hail Mary to honor Mary on this feast.
Gospel Luke 1:26-38
Gospel ReflectionIn this reading we hear the beautiful story of the Annunciation. The angel Gabriel announces to Mary that she has been chosen to be the mother of Jesus. The angel addresses her as "favored one" and "blessed among women." With her yes to God's will, Mary undoes the no of Eve. The first step in our salvation in Jesus Christ is begun in Mary's simple "May it be done."
In Mary all human beings are blessed. We who can never thank her enough should offer her special thanks this day.
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
A ReenactmentReenact the Annunciation. Select one child to play the role of Mary and one child to play the role of Gabriel. Read Luke?s Gospel (Luke 1:26-38). As the gospel is read, have children act out the parts. Simple props such as a headdress for Mary and wings and halo for Gabriel may be used if desired.
Mary Said ?Yes?Mary said "Yes" to God. Like Mary, we are all called to say "Yes" to those things that God wants us to do.
Create a special religion bulletin board. On poster paper, draw the word YES in large bubble letters. Cut these out and place on a bulletin board. Take a picture of each student?s face and paste these within the letters. When completed, say the following prayer together as a class:
Mary, you said "Yes? to God. Help us to be like you and say
?Yes? to God, too.
Proclaiming Faith Activities
The Gospel: A DramatizationHere is something you may want to do with your family, class, or prayer group. Read today's gospel, write a dramatization of it, and then act it out. It could follow this structure:
Narrator (sets the scene): The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary.
Angel (with great joy):
Mary (to herself, deeply troubled):
Angel (gently): Mary (still troubled):
Our Lady of LourdesAt Lourdes in France, Mary appeared to Bernadette, a young girl who was out gathering firewood. She asked Bernadette to pray for sinners and to have a chapel built in Mary's honor near the grotto where she appeared. At first, Bernadette did not know who this beautiful lady was. One day she asked her. Mary responded: "I am the Immaculate Conception."
In the place where Bernadette spoke to Mary, a spring of water bubbled up from the ground. Today many people who are sick go to Lourdes and pray for Mary's help and guidance. Think of the people you know who may be sick or hurting in some way. Write their names on a prayer card as a reminder for you to pray for them.
IMPORTANT I.D?sPrint these names of people and places that are mentioned in this gospel. Identify each one.
Gabriel, Mary, Jesus, Joseph, Galilee, David, Jacob, Elizabeth, Nazareth.
For Bibles and other scripture resources, please see the Sadlier Religion Catalog.
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