First Reading: Rv. 11:19a; 12:1-6a, 10ab
Psalm: Ps. 45:10, 11, 12, 16
SecondReading: 1 Cor. 15:20-27
Gospel: Lk. 1:39-56
Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Mary’s Assumption, that Mary did not suffer physical corruption after her death. She was taken body and soul upon her death into heaven. What is the significance of this feast?
The first thing we find in Mary’s life is suffering. Mary’s suffering began when she was asked to bear a son before being married to Joseph. The anxieties in her heart, – would Joseph still accept her? If the public finds out, will she be stoned to death in public? Later, when she and Joseph took the child Jesus to theTemplethe holy man Simeon said of Jesus: “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and the rise of many inIsrael, and to be a sign that will be contradicted.” Turning to Mary he said, “And sorrow, like a sharp sword, will pierce your own heart.”
Suffering continued in Mary’s life when in later years she saw the opposition grow against Jesus. Her suffering reached its peak when she stood beneath the crucified body of her Son. Mary bore her suffering with courage and with patience. And that’s where she inspires us to bear our suffering as courageously and patiently as she did.
The second thing that we find in Mary’s life is the spirit of service to others. The spirit manifested itself when the angel Gabriel announced that she was to be the mother of the Son of God. Her answer was short and to the point: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Mary’s spirit of service continued to manifest itself when she learned of Elizabeth’s pregnancy and went to help. Finally, that spirit of service continued to
manifest itself when Mary asked help from Jesus for the young married couple atCana.
The third thing that we find in Mary’s life is a spirit of profound prayerfulness. This spirit of prayerfulness is seen in her prayer of praise to God. Mary offered this prayer called the Magnificat right after learning thatElizabeth’s child leaped in the womb when she approachedElizabethwith Jesus in her womb. Mary’s spirit of prayerfulness continued at the birth of Jesus, when the Gospel tells us that Mary “kept all these things [connected with Jesus' birth] reflecting on them in her heart.” And it reached a special peak when the Acts of the Apostles relates that she “devoted” herself “to prayer” with the Apostles in preparation for the coming of the Holy Spirit. Because of her prayerfulness, she was always ready to do the will of God. That’s why she was sinless, that’s why she was taken body and soul to heaven upon her death to be with God forever.
Mary inspires us to want to carry our cross patiently as she carried hers. She inspires us to want to serve others generously and joyfully, as she served them. Finally, she inspires us to pray regularly as she did. Who can be a better Advocate than Mary our Mother?