15th August 2021:
Ps 45:10.11.12.16; 1
BLESSED VIRGIN MARY OUR SUPREME MODEL OF ALL VIRTUES
Dear Christians, Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven. This solemnity, honours the fact that, when the Blessed Virgin Mary completed her life on earth, she never experienced death. Instead, at that glorious moment, she was privileged to be taken body and soul into Heaven. This Dogma of the Assumption was proclaimed on 1st November, 1950 by Pope Pius XII. It reveals to us many things worth prayerfully pondering.
Our first reading from the book of Revelation, provides some insight into the assumption of Mary into heaven. It says “God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple.” The Ark of the Covenant is the holy box that contains among other things, the sacred book and it symbolized the presence of God among the people of Israel. Likewise, many sacred writers describe Mary as the Ark of the New Covenant because her womb contained the child Jesus.
The book of Revelation went further to speak about the great sign that appeared in the sky, which was a “woman clothed with the sun and with the moon beneath her feet.” The sun and moon are symbols of her purity. The crown of twelve stars around her head reminds us of the twelve apostles with whom Mary prayed on the day of Pentecost.
Then, another sign appeared in the sky; it was “a huge red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns and on his heads were seven diadems.” This story gives us a graphic image of the terrific nature of Lucifer, also known as Satan or the devil. Its tail swept a third of the stars of heaven and hurled them down to earth. Then the dragon stood before the woman about to give birth, to devour her child when she gave birth.
The devil presented here as the dragon, was ready to destroy the plan of God even before Jesus, the child of Mary was born. This story of the dragon also expresses the destructive nature of Satan, whose function the scripture says is to steal, kill and destroy. (Jn 10:10)
That dragon that went after this wondrous woman and her glorious child is still alive today as he was in the past. There is more to the world than what we see at first glance.
The signs of the time clearly indicate that, the devil, the dragon is at work 24 hours a day, seven days a week in the subtlest ways. He is working against the spiritual, material and physical well-being of every individual, against the good of the children of God, against the existence of love in families, against the church and against peace in the world.
The increasing rates of divorce, killings, the scandals that are rocking churches, the terrible diseases and pandemics like covid-19 that are destroying members of our families, are indicators of the work of this same terrific dragon. St. Paul says, we are not fighting against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against authorities, against the universal lords of this darkness, against spiritual powers and wickedness. We need to pray daily against the work of the devil in families, in the church and in the world.
The Gospel for this holy day recalls Mary's actions after the announcement of Jesus' birth by the Angel Gabriel. Mary goes to visit her cousin Elizabeth who is also with child. Elizabeth greets Mary with full recognition of the roles they and their unborn children will play in God's plan for salvation. Mary responds to Elizabeth's greeting with her song of praise, the ‘Magnificat’. Only Mary, who was born without stain of original sin, could give birth to Christ who is fully God and fully human. This is called the Immaculate Conception. Because of Mary's role in God's plan of salvation, she does not suffer from the effects of sin, which are death and decay. Mary is the first to receive the fullness of the redemption that her son has won for all of humanity. The Church, therefore, recognizes Mary as the sign of the salvation promised to all.
What then can we learn from Mary’s assumption?
1. We should keep our bodies pure and holy St Paul gives us three reasons why we should keep our bodies holy; one, because Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, two, Our body parts are members of the Christ’s body and lastly our bodies are to be glorified on the last day of judgement
2. We are given an assurance of Hope.
We are encouraged not to give up even in moments of despair and temptations.
3. We receive a message of total liberation from all our bondages.
We are liberated from impure, unjust, uncharitable thoughts, desires, words, actions and neglects.
Dear Christians, Mary is a model and symbol of the Church. May we be like Mary, open and cooperative in God's plan of salvation. We all need to look up to Mary and respect her as a role model, a generous and loving person, and most importantly, the mother of our God. She was a great woman and truly deserves the crown of a queen.
I wish you all a happy Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.