The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary body and soul into heaven, was the only doctrine of the church proclaimed not by churchmen but the unanimous voice of the faithful, vox populi. For its so important; confirming Christ’s resurrection and prefiguring our resurrection body and soul on the last day. So lets confess any failure to appreciate this key belief…
When I was lecturing in Palestine I often visited the holy places; the nativity church in Bethlehem, Calvary, the tomb of Christ in Jerusalem. One thing struck me however, nowhere could I find the tomb of Mary. She was with the early church. They revered her; why didn’t they keep her tomb. The answer of course is that there’s no tomb. Because of what we celebrate; her assumption body and soul into heaven. Her body never rotted away in a tomb. Why? Because of her sinless state? Also since her body was God’s dwelling place, he couldn’t let it decay.
But there are other reasons. Because she shared in her son’s suffering, it was right she should also shared in his bodily resurrection. Her assumption was the first fruits of that resurrection, an image of how we’ll all be raised on the last day. Her assumption points to another key aspect of our faith; bodily resurrection. Mary was taken body and soul to heaven. This prefigures how, on the last day, our bodies will leave the grave to be joined to our souls and be one with God forever as Mary is.
But there is still more to this great feast. It highlights her continuing role in the church and our lives. Raised up to her son’s side, she understands, loves and helps us from heaven because she’s bodily human as we are. Moreover, her bodily assumption shows that all material things are holy, our bodies as well as out souls are sacred. Mary’s a real in the flesh human mother in heaven. There have been visions lately of her crying blood. Of course she cries over her children’s pain, because she loves each of us more than any earthly mother. She shudders to see her young ones especially destroying themselves physically and spiritually as many are doing today. For as a real caring mother of the church and world, she walks with us in suffering. Her prayers will lead us home and enable our final triumph over evil. There’s no final tomb for Mary; there won’t be for us.
But there’s one further great lesson of the assumption; its social message. Mary tells us that she was raised up because God regarded her lowly state. These words should send a shiver down the spine of corrupt fat cats who make money their god and exploit the needy. For she tells us that Gods on the side of those crushed by the world: he casts down the mighty from their thrones and lifts up the lowly. He fills the hungry with good things and sends the rich empty away. Indeed, by choosing Mary, the humble village maid, and raising her up to hold glory as the paragon of our race, God shows he doesn’t judge as the world does; but takes the part of the poor and lowly. So must we; for Mary’s Magnificat is a plea to all of us to help in the struggle for universal justice. Mary, no paper saint, was a revolutionary.
So, all in all, we’ve so much to give thanks for on this feast. In its light lets pray that Mary will continue to reign in our hearts. And that as God’s own we’ll be faithful to Christ and his church through every suffering as she was. So that like her we’ll be raised body and soul to glory with Christ the only Lord of love peace and happiness in body and soul for now and forever and ever, amen. So as God’s people anticipating our final resurrection to eternal life, body and soul like Mary, lets profess our faith..
Prayers of the Faithful
As the people of God gathered on this glorious feast of our holy Mother, lets pray to God and her for what we need..
For the church throughout the world and its leaders that they may raise all people up to God and their heavenly home..
For civil leaders that they may raise all people, especially the poor and underprivileged, to a standard of living in keeping with their heavenly origin, dignity and destiny..
For our young people that they may cling to the faith like Mary through every joy and trails, and so be raised up to glory in body and soul, both in this world and forever more..
For ourselves in our homes, communities and work places that imitating Mary, we, our children and our neighbors may be raised up in body and soul to the glory of God when Christ comes again..
For the sick that through our love and care they may know the love of God and his holy mother and be raised up above their suffering..
For the dead that they may like Christ and his mother be raised up to glory with the help of our prayers..
And we ask all these prayers through Christ and his Holy Mother who raised up to glory looks after us all from her heavenly throne..
You know that song “you raise me up on eagle wings” or the other one “you raise me up to more than I can be”. That’s what God did for Mary and what he’ll do for each of us if we remain faithful through all the trials and suffering of life, believing and practicing the faith. So may we be a light for all That’s good to the world, and for social justice and equality. We pray to Mother Mary that we will do so in whatever small way we can..Hail Mary