ARCHBISHOP CHRISTOPHER PROWSE
CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF CANBERRA AND GOULBURN
FRIDAY 8 DECEMBER 2017
SOLEMNITY OF THE IMACULATE CONCEPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
AUSTRALIAN CATHOLIC YOUTH FESTIVAL
Genesis 3:9-15, 20, Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12, Luke 1:26-38
In the first reading today the question from the Book of Genesis is the first question ever written in the Bible. It is God calling out to Adam and asking “Where are you?”
This is the first question in the Bible.
What do you think is the most popular question today? We’re in an information and data epoch of history and all these facts seem to be known readily. According to the information experts, the most popular question asked today, coming mainly from the mobile phone revolution, is “Where are you?”
How many times have we telephoned somebody on our mobile phone and asked the question first up “Where are you?”
It is the question posed to us today in the readings, and particularly in this Youth Festival…”Where are you with Jesus?” Today on this Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in a sense, Mary is asked the question at the Annunciation “Where are you Mary?” In other words, where do you stand with God, Mary?
Mary’s answer was fulsome and immediate “I am here! Use me Jesus! I am your servant! I say yes to anything you want of me!”
This is an incredible answer by a young woman not much older than many of you at the Youth Festival.
Mary didn’t say, “Oh please Angel, go next door and ask the lady there, I’m busy now!”
She didn’t say, “Oh I think you’ve made a mistake. It’s not me it must be someone else.”
There was no excuses with Mary, it was yes or no and her answer to God is always YES!
The Immaculate Conception is somewhat a theological complex title but actually speaks of a simple reality. God made sure that Mary’s ‘yes’ was a perfect ‘yes’ made in total freedom without a hint of selfishness. Therefore she was without Original Sin. We celebrate her Immaculate Conception. In her total freedom her ‘yes’ becomes even more splendid.
In the history of the Church sometimes people say that Mary is like the moon and Jesus is like the sun. The moon does not give of light of itself but only reflects the sun. We know this in Australia on a night were the moon is shining brightly and reflecting the sun’s light. It gives a beautiful translucent light around everywhere. And so it is with Mary. For Mary Jesus is the sun and she is the moon. All she says is that she wants to reflect the light of Jesus and not give of any light of herself. She does this magnificently.
In the midst of this wonderful Australian Catholic Youth Festival here in Sydney, let us be Marian in our response and do the same.
When God asks us quietly in the depth of our heart these days “Where are you?” Let our answer be like Mary and say “Here I am Lord, I come to do your will!”
Archbishop Christopher Prowse
Catholic Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn