Revelations 11, 19: 12, 1-6, 10 + Psalm 45 + 1 Corinthians 15, 20-26 + Luke 1, 39-56
Saint Francis of Assisi Parish in Castle Rock, Colorado
The scriptures give her very few words. She is there one minute and gone the next. The first impression we get is that she was rather quiet and serene, just full of faith and trust. Yet, when you look more closely, this is a woman of action. She is on the move all the time, and in that time and place when most women people probably never moved more than ten miles away from the place of their birth, she is exceptional. Her whole life was a journey, and today we celebrate the end of that journey. She traveled to Judea to visit Elizabeth. She traveled to Bethlehem, and then she traveled to Egypt and back. She traveled to Jerusalem and then we follow her as she goes back to find her son. She traveled to find him again when he is on his mission wanting to bring him home perhaps to protect him from the growing number of enemies. Then she made the one most difficult of all, the journey of tears to Calvary and on to his tomb. Finally she made the journey we celebrate today. In all of this we see a restless woman of action who walks her way through every single human emotion from the wonder of conception to the joy of birth, to the fear of a lost child, to the anxious moment when she leaves him at school for the first time. There is the defensiveness of a mother for her misunderstood son, to the tragedy of mother who survives to witness his death and hold her dead child in her arms. She knows the emotions, the fear, the joy, and the pain that every mother can ever possibly experience. In a sense, she is a mother’s mother.
She is a missionary from her first journey to Elizabeth to her last. She carries Christ, her son, and his message of faith, hope, and love. This woman who spent most of her life traveling, searching, and fleeing is finally given her “special place prepared for her by God” as we hear in the first reading today. While she is no longer in this world, she is not away from us. Her life is wrapped in all of us who travel through this life to places we do not understand and to some we cannot see. She is with every refugee who flees their home in fear and every mother who loses a child in death. She is with anyone who knows heartbreak, unexpected tragedy, and a sudden change of plans. She is with and has gone before all of us through this life with its ups and downs sudden turns, surprises, and disappointments.
What we celebrate today is our hope that where she is now we shall one day be and see her face to face. This day celebrates our hope, not just Mary’s Assumption. It celebrates our expectation that if we can imitate her action, her trust, and her love, we too have a special place prepared for us by God. Elizabeth’s first word to Mary when she arrived in the hill country was: “Blessed.” Our prayer today is that we too shall be “blessed” as we too carry Christ with us and within us through every twist and turn of our life-journey. Inspired her life and faith, trust and love, may all of us be greeted as a blessing everywhere we go.