Homily: Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Aug, 15, 2013

   Gospel Summary

Today’s gospel offers us once again the beautiful story of Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth who is pregnant with John the Baptist. This act of thoughtful concern for her cousin brings a great deal of joy to Elizabeth, sensed even by the child in her womb, who leaps for joy at Mary”s presence and the Presence of her Promising Child. But the highlight of the story is the hymn of praise and thanksgiving that Mary offers that we call her “Magnificat.”

This splendid hymn transcends time and space. It sings of God’s goodness and mercy to Mary and to all of us, in every place and at all times. In spite of the real and tragic presence of evil and sorrow in our world, the dark clouds of violence cannot hide the reality of God’s love and concern for all the “lowly” ones. They have not been abandoned and their oppression at the hands of the “mighty and exalted” will not last forever.

  Life Implications

The victory that is celebrated in Mary’s “Magnificat” is confusing for us, who look at it all in the reality of its tragic and painful realness.

So the reality of the Promise is expressed in today’s feast of the Assumption of Mary into heaven. Her Assumption into heaven is the answer to the promise of God that He will “lift up” and give glory to all of us who, like Mary, trust in his goodness and obey his commandments.

Those who rely on power to serve their purposes, are inclined to ridicule those among us who accept the wisdom of Jesus and do their best to be a loving, caring presence in a much too violent world. Their way seems foolish and unpromising, but God is on their side and their ultimate victory is assured.

And so, Mary’s glorious Assumption into heaven is celebrated as the victory of love over hatred, of mercy over cruelty and of gentleness over violence.

Unfortunately, in a society where sheer power is too often assumed to be the only means for getting things done, we ourselves are tempted to abandon the wisdom of Jesus. In fact, we feel so helpless in dealing with violence in our homes and in our streets – and especially when it intrudes so harshly into the lives of those we love.

That is why this feast of the Assumption is so important. It provides us with an opportunity to reaffirm our faith in God’s promises. God really does remember his promises to Abraham and therefore to all of us believers who are spiritual children of that great patriarch, whom Paul calls “the father of all of us”.

God really does intend to “lift up the lowly” and to “fill the hungry with good things”? And, if so, we should gladly sing with Mary, no matter what our situation, in the both happiest and the saddest of times, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”

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