Homily for the solemnity of the Assumption of Mary - Lk. 1:39-56


by

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 Zechariah 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. "




Homily:


" In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah 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. "


Each year on August 15, we read the same Gospel for the feast of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven. It is the Gospel which provides an account of Mary's visit to her cousin Elizabeth, who was then pregnant with the one who would be called the Precursor of Christ: John the Baptist.


Holy Scripture tells us nothing of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven. However, in 1950, Pope Pius XII, after having consulted all bishops, proclaimed the Assumption of Mary to be a dogma of the faith. This took place on November 1, 1950, the feast of All Saints. Faithful to the Pope and to his teaching, we thus firmly believe this truth to be a dogma of our faith: Mary was taken up into Heaven, both body and soul.


If Scripture does not speak of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven, on what can such a dogmatic definition be founded? Quite simply, on the unanimous belief of the entire Christian people: all Catholic Christians have, at all times, thought and believed that Mary was taken up into Heaven, not only her soul, but her body as well. Is this not a sufficient reason? Does not Saint Paul affirm the truth - which is a little mysterious, it is true - that Christians are "letters written" by the Holy Spirit: "You show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts." (2 Cor. 3:3)?


So, wouldn't the unanimous belief of the Christian people be a testimony of Scripture itself, insofar as this testimony, like Scripture, goes all the way back to the Apostles themselves? Let us be sure of this: it is the Holy Spirit, who guides both the Church and her Head, the Pope, who is truly the guarantor of this truth which, from now on, is proposed for our belief, and teaches us that Mary was taken up into Heaven, both her body and her soul.


" 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.» "


The body of Mary could not know corruption: not a moment could pass between the end of her life on earth and the beginning of her glorious life in Heaven. This body - which, through speech, proclaimed so many wonders on earth, and served, among other things, to communicate to Elizabeth the distinguished graces which she received when Mary visited her - should be glorified always and everywhere, both on earth and in Heaven. The body of Mary, which served to say "Yes!" to God on the day of the Incarnation of the Word, was and is forever a body of glory!


Through her body, Mary said "Yes!" to God; through her body, Mary showed faith in the Angel who spoke in the name of God: "Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord!" Through her body, Mary was elevated to a place so high that no creature would ever be able to displace her: she thus became the Mother of God and the Mother of Christ, the incarnate Word. But above all, Mary then became the Wife of the Holy Spirit, becoming one with him in Christ. Lastly, Mary became the favored daughter of the Father, who had seen her in himself, in his Son, and in his Spirit for all eternity! Long before time began, the Father had loved Mary and had given her the Glory which she now possesses forever, in her body and her soul!


" 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.» "


Mary is in Heaven. However, she is also still among us, singing the praises of God with us... Could a mother forget her children? Mary is the Mother of God, the Mother of Jesus, but she is also the Mother of us all! Let us remember that Jesus gave her to us: "When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, «Woman, behold, your son!»" (Jn. 19:26) Mary is still with us, because we are the Body of Christ, but a Mystical Body, a Body of Glory! In this Glory, in this communion of the Saints, all of us, with Mary, make up the one Body of Christ. Mary, in Glory, with both her soul and her body, watches over the gathering together and the unity of all her children in the one Body of Christ! May it be so! Amen!



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