Solemnity of the Assumption A
August 15, 2021
Luke 1: 39-56
By Rev. John Tran
What is so significant about the celebration of Mary, the Mother of God, being brought bodily to heaven right after her death. We might think that it is because this precious vessel which carried Jesus, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, as a human being: as the Apostles’ Creed says, “who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary...” We believe that her whole being, including her body, was so special that God would not allow it to undergo the decay most mortal bodies experience And we would be right; but that is not all.
We might think that we celebrate this feast so specially because Mary was given to us at the foot of the Cross when he told Saint John: “behold, your mother.” Mary, Our Mother, Our Star of the Sea, our light, is so important to us that we cannot do anything else but honor her without this distinguished celebration. Her very importance to us as a close link to her Son makes this feast necessary and desirable. After all, Mary is our heavenly mother. And we would be correct. There is more.
We might think that Mary, the Mother of God, is an outstanding model and example for us as one who allowed Jesus to enter her being and her very body, so that she always had him within her in her heart and actions. This is exactly what we do as Jesus’ brothers and sisters as he indicate from the Cross and becoming members of his Body and adopted by his Father. Jesus is not ‘out there;’ he is part of our very being too. We carry him with us everyday. Mary’s example reminds us to make this presence count. We pray that she may help us become images of her Son. And we would be accurate again. But...
Today’s feast also shows us that God values our bodies. They are not only important to Him – they are sacred! There are two extremes of thought in regard to our bodies. One considers the body as our number one treasure. Ads and commercials usually feature people with exceptional looks. To be successful, accepted, and loved, they tell us, depends upon how we look. We are to watch our weight, keep in shape, and smell just right. If we don’t pamper our bodies and treat them royally, we’ll be social, business, and sexual flops. Nobody will want us around. As for the importance of our soul and our spiritual life? Forget it! They consider such things nonexistent and absurd. The other extreme of thought about the body is to look upon it as merely a machine for us to operate in this world. Its value is only its usefulness. To enhance it with cosmetics and perfume, to dress it up and make it look attractive, to diet, exercise, and look at it in the mirror – all that is not only a waste of time, but sinful. The soul and its spiritual condition are all that is important for us. We are to think of our body only when necessity requires. — But God is telling us on this feast of the Assumption that to Him, bothare important – our body and our soul. They are both to be valued, and they are to be given the attention and honor due them.
But there is another reason for our celebration that goes even deeper. You remember that recently on August 6th, we celebrated the feast of the Transfiguration. One thing that this event showed us, is that just as Jesus was transfigured on the mountain, as we, too, will be transfigured as we begin our new life with God in heaven. Jesus’ Transfiguration is a glimpse of what we are called to be as our life continues after we die. Mary, too, in her assumption bodily into heaven is a snapshot for us to see that our actual existence in the next life is real. Mary is a symbol to us of who we will be and what we will become. And she is so, precisely because of the reasons mentioned above. In Mary, all generations are blessed and the great things of the Lord are seen. Pray for us, O Mary, our hope and our shining star.