The readings today offer clear examples in well-known stories of evil and good in our world. Adam and Eve’s choices break their relationship with God, allowing evil into the world. In the Annunciation story, Gabriel announces Mary as “full of grace, blessed among women, filled with the Spirit.” God’s action through the Spirit results in the birth of Jesus, by whose death is our salvation.

Today celebrates Mary as conceived without sin, blessed from her conception. Today does not celebrate an impending birth. Today celebrates she who was chosen, long before she was asked, to cooperate in a most unexpected and special way with the workings of God and the Spirit. Today is that reminder that we too have been chosen to receive these same gifts of spirit and love, in spite of our brokenness through sin. Today we ponder and remember that nothing is impossible with God.  

—Mary Burke-Peterson  is a parishioner at St. Nicholas Church, Evanston, an active volunteer in the Ignatian Spirituality Project, and a graduate student at Institute for Pastoral Studies at Loyola University.