A PROOF THAT WE TOO CAN RISE AGAIN IN BODY AND IN SPIRIT
(A biblical reflection on the Solemnity of THE ASSUMPTION OF THE VIRGIN MARY – Sunday, 16 August 2015)
Gospel Reading: Luke 1:39-56
First Reading: Revelation 11:19;12:1-6,10; Psalms: Psalm 45:10-12,16; Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:20-26
The Scripture Text
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 hand maiden. 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 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. (Luke 1:39-56 RSV)
“Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord” (Luke 1:45).
Today’s feast is not just a celebration of a glorious event in Mary’s life. It’s a celebration of the destiny that awaits all of us. Mary’s assumption proves that we too can rise again in body and in spirit – just as she was taken body and soul in heaven.
What did you get from a week-long Marian pilgrimage, after visiting shrines, daily Masses, enjoying beautiful scenery during our travels from one place to another place, the bus drive itself was colored by praying and joyfully praising God together as a group? One thing is sure: a deeper experience of God’s presence.
Once we arrived home, we returned to the pace of our everyday life. But the memory of God’s presence never left us. In fact, it became a reminder that just as Mary believed she would experience the fulfilment of God’s promises, so too will we share in those very same promises. We are all pilgrims on the way to the glory that Mary is now experiencing in heaven.
Mary’s words of praise to God in the Magnificat reflect a rhythm of trust and obedience that resulted in a deeper life with the LORD. Pondering these words can help us join that rhythm. We can reread verses 51 to 55 and remember the times when God has kept these promises to each of us. Let’s recall those occasions when we put ourselves on a throne of some sort, and God’s goodness is gently “dethroning” us. What about the times He “exalted” us through a sincere compliment from a friend or through an opportunity to serve His people more fully? Just think: In both situations, God was being just as faithful to us as He was to Mary.
Through her unwavering trust in God, Mary shows us the way to heaven. The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that “when the course of her earthly life was completed, [Mary] was taken up body and soul into the glory of heaven, where she already shares in the glory of her Son’s Resurrection, anticipating the resurrection of all members of His Body” (CCC, 974). Mary’s life is a constant reminder that we can trust in the Lord’s promise that we too will reign, body and soul, in heaven as beloved children of God.
Prayer: All glory and praise to You, loving Father. I know that Your promises will be fulfilled in my life and for eternity. I rejoice that You call me to be Your own. Amen.
Jakarta, 14 August 2015
A Christian Pilgrim