THE ASSUMPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY; MONDAY 15TH AUGUST, 2022, YEAR C.
APOCALYPSE 11:19, 12:1-6, 10; PSALM 45; 1 CORINTHIANS 15:20-26; LUKE 1:39-56
Today, the Holy Mother Church celebrates the solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
This is the Church’s testimony to the fact that at the end of Mary’s earthly life, she was taken up (assumed) body and soul into heaven and God preserved her from decay.
This has always been taught and believed by the early Church. Many early saints and defenders of the faith like Epiphanius of Salamis, Timothy of Jerusalem, Juvenal bishop of Jerusalem, Gregory of Tours, John Damascene, John the theologian, Germanus of Constantinople etc preached, taught and wrote extensively on this.
ASSUMPTION AS A DOGMA
It was on November 1, 1950, after much consultation, prayerful consideration, revelation, inspiration and even apparitions, that Pope Pius XII promulgated this as a dogma of faith (this promulgation was made in his Apostolic Constitution “munificentissimus Deus).”
ASSUMPTION PREFIGURED IN THE BIBLE
The Bible, especially the Old Testament already gave us antecedents of those who were assumed body and soul into heaven. They prefigured the assumption of the Blessed Virgin.
Elijah, for instance, was taken up to heaven body and soul in a whirlwind – Cf 2 Kings 2:1-12.
We also have Enoch, according to Genesis 5:24 and Hebrews 11:5. God took Elijah and Enoch to heaven body and soul.
THE LOGIC OF THE ASSUMPTION
The Assumption is a logical consequence of the Immaculate Conception. Mary’s body was without the least stain of sin and so she was exempted from the sentence of decay (Psalm 16:10).
Mary surrendered her will to embrace God’s will. She cooperated to offer herself to God to fulfil His plan for humanity. She served God’s purpose with her whole life and her bodily assumption was part of her reward. The life of Mary glorified God on earth and so in death, God glorified her.
This tells us that it is rewarding to serve the Lord. Like our Blessed Mother Mary, everyone who dedicates his/her life and time to serving the Lord, walking with Him and living for His glory will be rewarded by a holy death and eternal joy (Hebrews 6:10).
When Elizabeth told Mary in today’s Gospel, “Of all women you are the most blessed”, she was right because no blessing is greater than being honoured by God with a glorious death and spending one’s eternity beholding the face of God.
Sometimes, like the Israelites in Malachi 3:13-18, we may think of what use is it to serve the Lord? What use is it to be faithful to Him when despite our piety, like our Blessed Mother, we face grave temptations, swords of adversities, trials and difficulties are piercing our souls too?When the old rugged cross becomes heavier than we expect and God seems to be quiet about the whole situation?
Like Mary, all who diligently serve the Lord and seek to be pleasing in His sight will share in the fruit of Christ’s redemption, as Mary did.
Even though we may have to face many challenges today, let us not lose sight of the hope of eternal glory waiting for us. Where Christ is, Our Blessed Mother now shares in His glory. We shall also become partakers of that eternal weight of glory if we do not become discouraged, if we do not lose faith, if we do not give up.
Let me end this reflection this way – someone once told me, “Fr, you need to visit Jerusalem; it is a place you just have to be.” In the same vein, may I say to all of you, no matter the places we have been and plan to be in the future, there is a place we must all plan to visit/to be, a place we must all retire to, and that is the Jerusalem in heaven. That is where Mary is with her Son and the Father and the Holy Spirit. That is where all the angels and saints are. That is where our deceased relatives and friends who have been shown mercy and washed in the Blood of the Lamb are. No matter where we have been and what we have seen, if we do not one day see and rest in the Jerusalem above, every other thing we have seen and enjoyed in life, even our entire earthly existence will be vanity.