Glorious Living: The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Sermon by Emmanuel Suntheni OSB –
Sermon and Chrisitan Act in the Word –
Theme: Glorious Living: Mother Mary is gloriously living in Heaven “Mediatrix of All Graces”
Point of departure: They are two facts that need to clarify before we understand the feast of Assumption of Mary into Heaven. First, Catholics don’t worship or adore Mary because we worship only God and Mary is not God. Second, We venerate her, honour her and love her as Jesus’ mother and our heavenly mother.
Point of reflection: Why do we Catholics believe in Mary’s Assumption into Heaven, despite the fact that there is no reference to it in the Bible? “Assumption” means that after her death, Mary was taken into Heaven, both body and soul, as a reward for her sacrificial cooperation in the Divine plan of Salvation. “On this feast day, let us thank the Lord for the gift of the Mother, and let us pray to Mary to help us find the right path every day
First Reading: Revelation 11:19; 12:1-6, 10
Psalm: Psalm 34:2–7
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:20-27
Gospel: Lk 1:39-56
Sermon (Reflection): Assumption of Mary into Heaven is the feast that we celebrate Mary’s total liberation from death and decay, the consequences of original sin. It is also the remembrance of the day when the Church gave official recognition to the centuries-old belief of Christians about the Assumption of their Heavenly Mother.
The Feast of the Assumption is one of the most important feasts of our Lady. Catholics we believe in the Assumption of the Virgin Mary into Heaven. We believe that when her earthly life was finished, Mary was taken up, body and soul, into Heavenly glory, where the Lord exalted her as Queen of Heaven. This is well reflected in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Cf. CCC 966)
The word “Assumption” in the tradition of the Church means that after her death, Mary was taken into Heaven, both body and soul.
The word Assumption comes from the Latin verb “assumere”, meaning “to take to oneself.” Our Lord, Jesus Christ took Mary home to himself where He is. It was on November 1, 1950, that, through the Apostolic Constitution Munificentimus Deus, Pope Pius XII officially declared the Assumption as a Dogma of Catholic Faith.
Mary is now in eternal life. This means the joy and blessedness that comes from loving and beholding the God who is Light, Life and Love. It also means the fullness of communion with all who love God, with all whom God loves. And God loves everything he has made, creation being the effect of his love.
But though the blessedness of eternal life is true of all elect in heaven, it is true of Mary in a very special way, not only by reason of the perfection of her glory, but also because her Assumption enables her even now to live her blessedness in the fullness of her glorified humanity.
This is why, as Christians, we often ask the intercessory role of mother Mary to God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Mother Mary received the Holy Spirit, Mother Mary kept in her womb the Son of God: Jesus. Why should we not venerate her? She lived glorious life and she is living a glorious life.
Her death nor assumption into heaven did not mark the end of “service.” On the contrary, her service could now assume its universal dimensions: “Taken up to heaven”-as Vatican II reminds us-“she did not lay aside her salvific duty … By her maternal love she cares for the brethren of her son who still journey on earth.” (Lumen Gentium 62)
Yes, Mary is now in a position to exercise fully her “motherhood in the order of grace,” without interruption until the eternal fulfilment of all the elect (LG 62). And it is not immaterial, here as always, that Mary’s maternal love for us engages not only her soul but also all the powers of her human nature lifted up to glory.
The first and third readings are about women and God’s creative, redemptive and salvific action through them. In the first reading, the author of Revelation probably did not have Mary of Nazareth in mind when he described the “woman” in this narrative. He sees the “woman” as a symbol for the nation and people, Israel.
She is pictured as giving birth, as Israel brought forth the Messiah through its pains. The woman is also symbolic of the Church, and the woman’s offspring represents the way the Church brings Christ into the world. The dragon represents the world’s resistance to Christ and the truths that the Church proclaims. As Mary is the mother of Christ and of the Church, the passage has an indirect reference to Mary. This is well reflected in the gospel of today.
The Gospel of today gives the reason why we venerate Mary. We venerate Mary herself gives the reason in her “Magnificat” recorded in Luke (Cf. 1: 48-49): 48: “For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. 49: The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.”
God has honoured Mary in defined ways, and we honour her because God honoured her. As we celebrate the Feast of Assumption of Mary into Heaven, we need to understand the theological aspect of this feast and how it reflects our spiritual life as Christians whilst on this earthly journey.
- First, God chose Mary as His Son Jesus Christ the Messiah’s mother. Today too as Christians, we have been chosen by God to be sons and daughters of mother Mary. What is important for us is to accept Mary as our mother. The moment you accept Mary as your mother, then, we will be filled with joy and love of maternal transference of grace.
- In preparation for this role, God made her “Full of grace.” With this full of grace, Mary had no sin because is full of grace. As a Christian must refrain from sinning.
- He anointed her twice with His Holy Spirit: at Annunciation and at Pentecost, making her the most Spirit -filled woman. As a Christian, have I received the Holy Spirit? Yet during confirmation. Do I recognise the Holy Spirit? It should be our prayer as Christians that our everyday living we must live by the Holy Spirit.
- God allowed her to actively participate in Christ’s suffering and death. Why not me today to actively partake in Christ’s life, suffering, death, and resurrection. As Christians, we can partake by praying the Rosary every day and following the Way of the Cross
- Mary is our heavenly mother, given to us by Jesus from the cross. As a Christian, mother Mary must be my mother at all times as manifested on the maternal transference by Christ on the Cross.
Hence, as Christians, we need to learn from Mary’s virtuous life. Mary is our role model of all virtues: humility, obedience, and surrender to the will of God. Ask yourself today as we celebrate the feast of Mother Mary, am I humble? Am I obedient? Am I at the position of surrendering my will to the will of God?
Let us pray today that as Christians, we should be men and women of prayer and always take mother Mary as our mother, the mother of the Church who had glorious living while on earth and after being assumed to heaven, she still has the glorious living. She is always ready to play an intercessory role.
As pope emeritus Benedict XVI called her, ‘Advocate and Mediatrix of grace, you who are fully immersed in the one universal mediation of Christ’ (that is, Co-Redemptrix, properly understood). Our Lady became our Mother when Christ our Head was crucified, and she is given to us more firmly as Mother when the Church, Christ’s Body and Bride, undergoes her own trial and crucifixion.
In heaven, for our sake, Our Lady appears more clearly as Co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate, and utterly active in her motherly love, she points to Christ, her Redeemer and ours, who alone makes us more human and alive
Action: I pray that God should fill me with Grace to be humble, to obey and to surrender my will to the will of God as Mother Mary did. Mary should be my mediatrix.
Prayer: Father in heaven, all creation rightly gives you praise, for all life and all holiness come from you. In the plan of your wisdom, mother Mary who bore the Christ in her womb was raised body and soul in glory to be with him in heaven. May we follow her example in reflecting your holiness and join in her hymn of endless love and praise. We ask this through Christ our Lord, Amen.