Assumption of the BVM, – 17
Rev.11:19; 12:1-6. 10 / 1Cor.15:20-26 / Lk.1:39-56
When Jesus was hanging on the cross and just before He gave up His spirit, He turned to His mother and the disciple He loved standing near her, and He said to His mother, “Woman, this is your son.” (Jn.19:26)
Then to the disciple He said, “This is your mother.” And from that moment the disciple made a place for her in his home. After this Jesus knew that everything had now been completed. (Jn.19:27-28)
This beloved disciple, often identified as St. John, later took Mary to his home in Ephesus. From extra biblical sources, Mary lived there for many years before she died and was buried in a tomb.
But it didn’t just end there. These extra biblical sources also related that one of the Apostles, St. Thomas, was absent when Mary died and was buried because he was in India doing his ministry.
When he came to Ephesus and wanting to pay his respect, he asked to see her body. But upon opening the tomb, Mary’s body was not there. Instead, there were sweet smelling flowers growing at where her body laid.
The rest of the Apostles attested that the tomb was not opened ever since Mary’s body was laid in it, and hence they concluded that God must have assumed her body into heaven along with her soul.
And since they had witnessed the Ascension of Jesus into heaven, they concluded that the same thing happened to Mary.
And since Mary was conceived without sin, sin had not touched or defiled her soul, then God would not allow her body to turn to dust, but rather assumed her body to heaven to share in the glory of the Risen Christ.
Since then till now, it was the common belief in the Church that Mary’s body was assumed into heaven. But it was only in 1950, 15th August, that Pope Pius XII officially declared Mary’s Assumption as an article of faith.
In other words, the Church has boldly declared that Mary is in heaven, body and soul, a declaration that is definite and irreversible. It was a declaration not just on the authority of the Church but also under the authority of the Holy Spirit.
With this declaration, our faith in the saving power of God is reinforced. Mary is the first to be saved by the saving work of Jesus, and the first to enter heaven body and soul, hence assuring us that we too will join her one day.
At the same time, our faith in Mary’s intercession is also reinforced, because from heaven she continues to pray for us as our Heavenly Mother, a mission that she received at the foot of the cross and that she continues even in heaven.
As Mary’s Assumption was a reward for a holy life, this feast invites us to keep our bodies pure and holy. Paul gives three additional reasons: a) our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit.
- b) our body parts are the members of Christ’s Body, and c) our bodies are to be glorified on the day of the Last Judgment.
We are given an assurance of hope in our resurrection and a source of inspiration during moments of despair and temptations.
So, like the beloved disciple, let us make for Mary a place in the home of our hearts. Let us offer her our prayers and ask for her intercession.
And let us also pray with her for the salvation of all peoples. That’s what her Assumption means. That’s what being disciples of Jesus is all about. Amen.