The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
15 August 2018 at Saint Peter the Apostle and St. Willian Churches in Naples, FL
Revelation 11, 19 – 12, 6, 10 + Psalm 45 + 1 Corinthians 15, 20-27 + Luke 1, 39-56
All of those images from the Book of Revelation about golden clothing and wild battles with Satan can be left to another time for a serious study of this complicated style of writing. Having not entertained the thinking of some in Corinth that the resurrection of Jesus did not really involve his body, we can excuse ourselves from Paul’s tirade today. Let’s just settle down with this simple reading from Luke’s first chapter. What is so beautiful and charming about this Gospel passage is that it is so very ordinary, unspectacular and not particularly controversial as the reading from Paul or the Book of Revelation.
We are often led to remember and admire the spectacular events of our lives ignoring the importance of the ordinary day-t0-day things, but I think the wisdom of the church on this feast would suggest that this is not wise. I think of this in terms of Blessed Stanley Rother, that Oklahoma priest who was martyred in Guatemala. Everyone who knows anything about him remembers that day at the end of July when he was shot to death in the rectory. That violent day almost overshadows all the other ordinary days of his life when he got in the morning, celebrated Mass, cared for the people, comforted the suffering, and protected the vulnerable. There is a similar risk here with this feast. We should not ignore the simple ordinary things that in the end make a person great, noble, or holy. The Assumption of Mary is the consequence of an ordinary life lived by a mother and a faithful servant of God. For Mary and for us, it will be the ordinary days that determine who we are.
In the Gospel today, Mary hears that Elizabeth is pregnant, she leaves behind her own concerns and affairs and asks, “What does my cousin Elizabeth need?” When a visit seems appropriate, Mary acts. She goes in haste to the hill country to visit her cousin. Other than the risks involved and the inconvenience, it’s no big deal. Yet, what we see here is the pattern of ordinary days: asking and acting. What does someone need followed by an action responding to that need. As simple as this pattern is, the result is often more than we might imagine. Following the pattern of pregnant Mary, we not only bring ourselves to others. We also carry Christ who is in us to everyone we service.
The glory of Mary assumed bodily into heaven is simply a preview or foretaste of our glory. Her risen body is with the risen body of Christ in a new creation. So, it shall be for us who have lived every blessed and ordinary day asking and acting.