Solemnity of the Assumption 2010
Today we celebrate the feast of the Assumption of Mary. This feast commemorates the day that Mary was taken into heaven, body and soul. This is an exciting feast. We should all be quite ecstatic about the assumption of Mary. Why?
We have to start with the Resurrection of Jesus. Without the resurrection there is no Christianity, there is no Church. Without Jesus overcoming sin and death by his own death and resurrection, there is no good news. The very heart of the gospel is the resurrection. Jesus Christ was raised from the dead. His human body lies in death no more. Rather, Jesus the second person of the Trinity takes to himself a human nature, dies, and rises. This is good news indeed because Jesus extends this life to all of us. Because of our common humanity, all of us have access to eternal life. We have access to the forgiveness of our sins. We believe in the resurrection of the dead.
At every funeral mass I celebrate, I'm struck by the Church's prayers. They are filled with our faith that Jesus has overcome sin and death. And that if we believe in Jesus, if we have faith in him and live as his disciples, we too will overcome sin and death. This is the gospel: God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son so that all those who believe in him might not perish, but might have eternal life. Every Sunday when we gather here to celebrate the Mass we renew our faith in the resurrection. The Eucharist is the sign and foretaste of the resurrection here and now.
From the earliest days of the Church, we have held that Mary was taken into heaven, body and soul. What this means is that the promise of eternal life is not some kind of aloof promise. Rather, Mary is already participating in the future life of the Kingdom. The assumption, then, is like the continuation of the Resurrection, the fruit of Jesus' rising from the dead. Jesus rises from the dead and ascends into heaven. In the Creed we say that he waits there so as to return to judge the living and the dead: his kingdom will have no end. The assumption of Mary shows that his reign has already begun.
When we celebrate the Assumption of Mary we are celebrating the kingdom of heaven. It has already begun. Dwelling on this belief should inspire our faith. It reminds us that if we want to be like Mary, in her blessed life in the kingdom to come, then we need to imitate her here and now. Mary exclaims today in the gospel: my soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my savior, for he has done good things for me and holy is his name.
Every Sunday when we gather here at Mass we gather in the name of Jesus, to celebrate his resurrection. Today we also remember the fruits of this resurrection bestowed upon his blessed mother Mary. As we receive the Eucharist today we can ask for the grace to be like Mary. We can ask for the grace to be open to God's will, to be a follower of Christ, ready to proclaim God's greatness. So that when our time on earth is done we too might proclaim the greatness of the Lord for all eternity. We ask Mary to pray for us as we say: Hail Mary…