Homily for the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary - Lk. 1:39-56
Canon Dr. Daniel Meynen
" In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, and she entered the house of Zechari'ah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, «Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb ! And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me ? For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.» And Mary said, «My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is on those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm, he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts, he has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent empty away. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity for ever.» And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her home. "
" «Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.» "
Today we celebrate the Assumption of Mary into Heaven. It is today that are accomplished, for all time, the words which God addressed to Mary on the day of the Incarnation of the Word, the very Word of God! It is today that Mary enters Heaven, where the Word of God, the Son of the Father, who is also her Son, fills this woman, blessed among all women, with happiness and joy! It is today that the faith of Mary is replaced by clear vision: she who was the first to believe receives on this day the reward promised to those who persevere in fidelity to the end!
" «Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!» " (Lk. 1:28)
These are the first words which the Lord addressed to Mary on the day of the Incarnation of the Word: "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!" (Lk. 1:28) It is the Angel Gabriel, speaking in the name of God, who addressed these marvelous words to Mary (cf. Lk. 1:26) "Full of grace": Mary heard these words that perturbed her to the depths of her being. "She was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be." (Lk. 1:29) Mary was troubled in her soul, not because she heard such words, but rather because she heard them earlier than she thought she would. Indeed, Mary, conceived without original sin, was given such enlightenment, by means of an unlimited faith, that she knew that she was "full of grace" through a knowledge that was given to her by this very grace.
This what perturbed Mary on the day of the Incarnation of the Word was the time in which it took place, for God had decided that it be so. "When the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman." (Ga. 4: 4) Now the fullness of time belongs only to God: it is God alone who knows when the fullness of time is. For the fullness of the time is determined by the elect whom God has chosen in his eternal love: when all the elect of God have answered his call, that is when the fullness of time has come. The fullness of time has arrived when Christ, in his mystical Body, attains maturity: "His gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets... to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain... to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." (Ep. 4:11-13)
" «The Lord is with you.» " (Lk. 1:28)
Even though Mary intensely lived this fullness of grace which was hers on earth, she nevertheless had to wait for her entrance into Heaven in order to see, in clear vision, the fulfilment of that other gift of the Lord: his loving and holy presence in her! Certainly, during her terrestrial life Mary had felt this presence of God in various ways, as had Jesus himself when he rejoiced in the Spirit (cf. Lk. 10:21). So, when she met her cousin Elizabeth, Mary exclaimed: "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior." (Lk. 1:46-47) But today Mary enters Heaven, and the Lord is with her for all eternity: what had been said to her on earth is now accomplished in all its fullness in Heaven!
" «The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.» " (Lk. 1:35)
Mary saw the Lord during her life on earth: Jesus was there, always with her! But he who was going to accomplish in her the marvels of the Most High, the Holy Spirit, the one who became her mystical spouse at the time of the Incarnation of the Word, she hadn't seen him yet... She saw him only on the day of her Assumption into Heaven: it was then that she saw, in the Light of God, the divine Spouse who lived in the deepest part of herself for her consolation here on earth.
Besides, what else could Mary want during her life if not to love God with all her heart, all her soul, and all her strength? And how could Mary die, if she didn't die of love? But how could the Holy Spirit, the Love of God in Person, allow Mary to die, even of love? Even if Mary had died, she nevertheless had not known death: love always dominated in her, the love that gives us life in God!
May today's eucharistic celebration bring us to Heaven, with Mary, for all eternity!