Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate together the great feast and solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into the glory of Heaven, a great occasion instituted and declared as a dogma of the Faith, by the holy and pious Pope Pius XII in the year 1950, just about a century after another dogma declared the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The Immaculate Conception refers to the fact that Mary was prepared beforehand by God to be special, to be beyond and above all other men and women, in that she was conceived without any taints of original sin, which has tainted all other mankind ever since sin entered into the hearts of men since the days of Adam and Eve and their disobedience.
Understanding what Immaculate Conception is, and what the meaning of the Assumption is, tied with the role that Mary played in the whole plan of God’s salvation of mankind is important if we are to appreciate how significant the things that we are celebrating today are. And as Christians, truly, we have to appreciate what Mary as the mother of our Lord and God, Jesus Christ, had done.
The Assumption refers to the moment when Mary was taken up into heaven and did not suffer a bodily death on earth. Our fellow brethren in the Eastern Orthodox Church had a similar belief in what is called the Dormition of the Theotokos, as in their tradition, Mary as the mother of God fell into a deep sleep at the end of her earthly life and was taken up into the glory of heaven.
But all these speak about the same thing, that the mother of God did not suffer from an earthly death of the body, but instead was taken up directly by God into the glory of heaven. And lest all those who misunderstood the intention of this event and those who misunderstood the role of Mary complained that we glorified her too much or even accused us of making a deity or a goddess out of her, then we should know more about how Mary is special and so important in the role she played in ensuring our salvation.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, if we look at the readings of the Sacred Scriptures today, we should see how many of them speak about the Ark of the Covenant of God. It was told in our first reading, from the Book of Chronicles, about the moment when king David wanted to transfer the Ark of God, or the Ark of the Covenant into the city of Jerusalem.
Festivities, songs and dances were prepared, and a grand welcome was planned to bring in the Ark of the Covenant into the city. And why is that so? Because the Ark of the Covenant is a grand golden vessel containing the two slabs of stone upon which God Himself had touched and on which He had written the Law and the Covenant which He had established with His people. It is a representative of God’s very Presence in this world.
But how does that then relate to Mary, the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ? That is because if we know Who Christ is, then certainly we can make that clear link between Mary and the Ark of the Covenant. Yes, Mary indeed is also the Ark of the Covenant, as she bore within her the New Covenant of God with mankind, that is Jesus Christ our Lord.
Jesus, the Son of God, came into this world in order to save the world and right all the wrongs and faults which was in this world. Mankind had erred and through the disobedience of Adam and Eve, they had brought the sundering and the separation between us and God. According to St. Paul, through the act of one man, the whole race of men had been brought low by sin and had to suffer and die. But through the act of another Man, they all have been brought into a new life in God.
And that Man was Jesus Christ, the One Who had been born through the virgin, Mary, His mother, that by His works, He may bring all mankind back into the loving embrace of God. Through Jesus, a new covenant between God and mankind had been established, while the old covenant had passed away. The old covenant God made with mankind had expired and been replaced anew with one that will last forever.
The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is not the same as the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ. In the first place, we are not making Mary to be a goddess or a deity on her own right. Jesus ascended by His own power and might, but Mary was brought up by God into heaven through His will to grant her the singular grace to escape the snares of death. She alone among all mankind not to suffer death.
And why is this so, brethren? That is because as the vessel bearing the Lord of life and He Who have mastered and conquered death, it does not seem appropriate if then His own mother would succumb to it, as death is the consequence for sin, and for someone who has been conceived without the taints of original sin, that is the blessed mother of our Lord, Mary, it is appropriate that our Lord rewarded her with such a privilege.
But in the end, how are all these relevant to us, brothers and sisters in Christ? It is because we know for sure that Jesus our Lord would not let His mother to suffer death or in any sense, any form of earthly and bodily decay, so thus He will also endeavour to bring us all into the salvation and liberation which He alone can bring unto us. For in Mary we have seen the fullness of God’s faithful promises to us mankind, that He will deliver us all from the snares of sin and from the sting of sin, that is death.
Yet, all these will also require our dedication and commitment. We cannot truly receive the fullness of God’s promise and God’s salvation if we ourselves are the ones who place the barriers and obstacles on our path to attain God’s mercy and grace. God offers us His mercy and forgiveness freely, but we shall find that we are ourselves our greatest enemy. It is our reluctance, our lack of desire to be forgiven, that lack of the sense of regret for our sins that have caused us to remain trapped within that quagmire of sin.
And lastly, we have that one great helper and a source of inspiration to depend on, as we make this journey of faith towards God. Mary herself is our greatest help and our great protector before her Son, our Lord. She is in heaven, interceding for our sake daily, praying for us and for all the beleaguered children of God, whom God had entrusted to her care from the cross.
On this day of the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, let us renew our devotion to the Lord our God through His blessed mother Mary, who has shown us the way forward, by following her examples, faith and piety that we too may receive the same glory which had been accorded to her. We too shall share in the joy of heaven and in the eternal life promised by God to all of His faithful ones. All that we need to do is to really devote ourselves, our time and our efforts in order to serve the Lord our God and follow Him with all of our strength.
May God bless us all and keep us, and may His mercy be poured down upon us, and through His blessed mother Mary, whom we remember today in her glorious Assumption into heaven, let us all look up to her as the great model for our own, and thus we will be more able to proceed forward to the goal of our life, that is to be reunited with God, our loving Lord and Creator at the end of it all. Let us all seek the Lord through Mary, His beloved mother. Mary, Blessed Mother of God assumed into heaven, pray for us. Amen.