Reading Eugene’s words we can hear an echo of the Easter Exultet:
‘Exult, let them exult, the hosts of heaven,
exult, let Angel ministers of God exult,
let the trumpet of salvation
sound aloud our mighty King's triumph!
Be glad, let earth be glad, as glory floods her,
ablaze with light from her eternal King,
let all corners of the earth be glad,
knowing an end to gloom and darkness.’
My Dear Sisters and Brothers! Would you agree with me that the dawn is a beautiful moment of the day? When the rays of the sun begin to dispel the darkness of the night you can appreciate light as there is still some darkness in some places. However what gives you a happy mood is that you know that no one can stop the sun; no one can prevent its light to penetrate the world. Jesus’ Resurrection has shed light into people’s lives. The first to receive it, the first to be penetrated by it, the first to be fully filled with it was Mary.
This Saturday as we honour Mary in the mystery of her Immaculate Conception we hear God in what Gabriel said to Mary. Angels always speak God’s mind. What do we hear then? ‘Hail Mary, full of grace the Lord is with you.’ We need to be grateful for this message which made Mary pause and contemplate it but which also makes us pause and contemplate it. We are given a Divine insight into what has been happening in us and in the world we inhabit. In the midst of people striving to live by God’s word Mary appears as the person whose whole life is about receiving God’s grace and putting it into practice. We know from our experience that it is not easy to live Godly life but in Mary we find hope that choosing God in our ups and downs is worth living and believing.
Not far from Nazareth, where Mary lived and where the scene from today’s Gospel took place, there was a city of Sephorris being built for the Romans and for the wealthy Jews. Today only ruins tell the story of big dreams of its architects, builders and residents. Some years ago in one of the houses a mosaic was found. It is called Mona Lisa of Galilee as it portrays a beautiful woman. It is a must see for the visitors these days. However for us Christians no one can compete with the beauty of the Virgin Mary. What we find so attractive in her beauty is that it is catching. It not only inspires us but it gives us hope to grow in God’s grace in the midst of the people God has placed us and in the midst of the situations we need to deal with every day. The People of God has learnt to turn their sight to Mary when they fall into sin, when they hear voices in their head saying that nothing will be changed. The dawn is upon us. Mary is filled with the life giving light. She has been the first one to benefit from Jesus' redemption. Thus she is ‘All fair.’ She is the Immaculate Conception,