The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. August 15, 2023

Revelation 11: 19a; 12: 1-6a; 10ab; 1 Corinthians 15: 20-27; Luke 1: 39-56

 

Theme: Like the Blessed Virgin Mary, We, Christians, Are God’s Instruments

Today we celebrate the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This solemnity is one of the four Dogmas (or core tenets of the faith) regarding the Virgin Mary. The three other Dogmas are the Divine Motherhood of the Virgin Mary (Theotokos), her Perpetual Virginity, and her Immaculate Conception. Note that a “Dogma” in Catholic Church is a belief communicated by divine revelation and defined by the Church as incontrovertibly true.

The Dogma of the Assumption of the Blessed Mary is not equivalent to the Ascension of the Lord, and we must not confuse them. The latter refers to how our Lord Jesus ascended by his own power and might, to sit on his throne at the right hand of his Father in Heaven. Jesus returned from where he had come from to prepare the place for us all. Meanwhile, the Assumption of the Blessed Mary refers to the moment when our Blessed Mother was taken up, body and soul, into heaven, not on her own accord, but by the grace and the power of God. This is understood by the fact that Mary was given the special grace of being conceived without sin (Dogma of the Immaculate Conception), so, death as the punishment and consequence of sins, has no hold over her at all.

In this solemnity, the Church suggests we meditate on the passage of the visitation of the Virgin Mary to Elizabeth in the Gospel of Luke. To better understand this passage, I divided it into three parts. In the first part, Virgin Mary sets out and travels in haste. She greets Elizabeth, and this one is filled with the Holy Spirit. Note that Virgin Mary was the master of her life prior to her “Yes” to God’s call. After she said “Yes”, she became the instrument of the Lord. Because of the Son of God, Jesus, she carries in her womb, her greetings, words, and presence made Elizabeth filled with the Holy Spirit and made the infant in Elizabeth’s womb (John the Baptist) leaped with joy. In other words, the infant Jesus needed Virgin Mary as God’s instrument to take him to Elizabeth’s home to visit John the Baptist, bring him joy, and make his mother Elizabeth filled with the Holy Spirit. Likewise, through our baptism, you and I became Christians, meaning, God’s instruments. So, Jesus needs us to take him to the people he wants to visit, bless, and save.

The second part of this Gospel is the declaration of Elizabeth to the Virgin Mary. Probably, the Blessed Mother came to her cousin to seek advice and guidance regarding her vision and the message she received from the angel of God. Yet before even she started talking, it was Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, who revealed the plan of God in her by declaring her and the Infant she carried in her womb “Blessed”. Everyone who accepts to become God’s instrument and allows Jesus to reach out to his people through him/her is declared “blessed”. We, Christians, are truly blessed because we carry Jesus whenever and wherever he wants to go and bless his people. The presence of each one of us in our Church and everything that we do to make our Church better is our way to take Jesus to our Church members and bless them. You and I are truly blessed because we accept to live our Christian faith openly to inspire our brothers and sisters in our neighborhoods and families.

Then, the third part of our passage is the “Magnificat song”. When Virgin Mary heard this revelation from Elizabeth, she did not doubt it. Rather, she praised God with the song of Magnificat. Neither should we doubt that we are “Blessed”. Like Virgin Mary, we should rather let our souls always proclaim the greatness of the Lord, and our spirits rejoice in God our Savior because he has chosen us his lowly servants to become the vessels, he wants to use to save the world. Our Christian life must be a “Magnificat”.  

Let us ask God’s grace in this Mass so that we continue to be God's instruments and take Jesus to whomever he wants to bless and save. Amen.

Rev. Leon Ngandu, SVD

 

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