Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the Mass of an important occasion and an important part of our faith, that is celebrating the Assumption of our Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ into heaven by the power and the will of God. This is the dogma and definitive teaching of the Church, declared by the great Pope Pius XII on this day, sixty-four years ago, on the fifteenth day of August of the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and fifty.
The Blessed Virgin Mary, as the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ has long been the subject of veneration and respect for many generations since the beginning days of the Church. Mary as the mother of Jesus, who is the Son of God, the Divine Word incarnate into flesh, has been considered as the Theotokos, or the Mother of God ever since the Ecumenical Council at Nicaea in the year of 325 of our Lord. This is because she was the vessel through which our Lord and Saviour was born into this world.
If you had noticed, that the readings today, the songs from the psalms and the Gospel itself talk about the Ark of God, or the Ark of the Covenant, which contained the two slabs of stone on which God had written in stone His laws and commandments for His people, and for mankind to be kept faithfully for all eternity. That Ark of the Covenant came to be considered as the Holy Presence of God among men, as God Himself resided in the world, among His people through the Ark.
That was why in the Scripture Reading from the Book of Chronicles today, we are told of the meticulous and very detailed preparations for the carrying of the Ark of God into the Holy City of Jerusalem, that it may be brought from the wilderness where the Ark had resided, to the Tent which the king David of Israel had prepared for the Ark of the Lord. This is because the Ark itself represents the dwelling of God among men, and therefore, later on, it was to be enshrined in the holiest part of the Temple of Jerusalem, in what is called the Holy of holies.
So sacred is that Ark, that indeed, before the occurrence of what is in the First Reading today, what happened was that the Ark had been attempted to be moved to the city of Jerusalem earlier on, but one of the priests of the Levites tribe accidentally touched the Ark when it slipped along the way, and the offending priest was cast down immediately by God for the accidental touching of the Ark. The meticulous preparation was indeed partly because no one, and no human hands should ever touch the Holy Ark of God.
And how is this relevant to what we are celebrating today? That is because the Blessed Virgin Mary is herself an Ark of the Covenant, and in fact, she is the Ark, the one and true Ark, of a covenant that had been established anew by the Lord, the new covenant of Jesus Christ our Lord, the Lord of lords and the King of kings. As she bore the Lord and Saviour in her womb, she essentially became the new Ark of the new covenant which Jesus was to establish and seal by His death on the cross.
And as the Blessed Virgin Mary bore the Lord in herself, she has become the new Ark, that is indeed truly equally sacred and holy in all ways, the same as the old Ark had been. For truly, it must be inconceivable that for the Lord to be born into the world through physical attachments corrupted by sin. That is why, today’s feast is essentially inseparable from that of the feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin herself, which means that the Mother of our Lord was conceived without sin, pure and immaculate.
This dogma truly had the background in this purity and holiness of the Ark of God, which was then made anew through Mary, who was to bear the Lord and Saviour of all creation, and no longer just merely the two slabs of stone on which was written the laws and commandments of God. Mary was therefore prepared and made special, pure and immaculate, free from all forms of sin and evil. And therefore, just as in her birth, where she was without sin like her Son, it was truly also inconceivable that death should have any power over her.
This is why the Assumption, in which the Lord brought His own earthly mother into heaven, to show that for she was without sin, pure and immaculate, death has no power over her. Assumption is the proof that God showed men, using the example of His own mother, that death has no final say on us. Instead, He Himself by His sacrifice on the cross had conquered death, and death no longer bound us to itself, and we now have a new hope of life eternal in God.
In the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we honour and look up to Mary, who is both the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ and also the foremost and greatest among all saints, as the one whose examples inspire all of us to do better and aim for the better for ourselves. Mary gives us hope that we too may one day be like her, receiving the gift of heavenly glory and our everlasting inheritance as part of the promise and hope which our God had given us.
However, on this sacred and joyful day, we also have to remember that we have our duties and obligations as well. Why is this so? Because all of us who believe in the Lord and who have accepted Him into ourselves, with our God becoming a part of us, and we as a part of the Lord as one Body, we too become the Arks of the Lord’s new covenant. And what is this covenant, exactly? We have to remember what Jesus said at the Last Supper, that the covenant He made was sealed by the giving of His Body and Blood to all mankind.
This covenant becomes ours and we are a part of the covenant when we receive the Lord who is present in the Most Holy Eucharist. Therefore, whenever we receive the Lord in the Holy Communion, we truly become like Mary, to bear the Lord unto ourselves, for the bread and wine are truly transformed completely into the very essence of our Lord, that He is truly present in us, and we become His Ark, or also known as what is called the Temple of God, or the Temple of the Holy Spirit.
And therefore it is very important for us to take note that as the Ark is holy and sacred, and as the Blessed Virgin Mary is holy and blessed, we too must also aspire and work towards having a holy and sacred Ark in ourselves, which means to avoid all sorts of fornications or sins that taint the body, or the soul or both body and soul.
If we are not able to do this, we will not be worthy bearers of the Lord, and we will be punished and cast out from our intended inheritance, and we will not share in the glory of Mary, whom God had brought body and soul into heaven for her role in the plan of God’s salvation of mankind. She is our role model and our hope, for through her God had made it clear to us, that death will not have any power over us, unless if we allow it to rule us again when we succumb to the temptations of sin and defile our bodies and our souls, unworthy of the Lord.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, today let us all reflect on this occasion, and on God’s loving presence among us, and within us. Let us from now on, whenever we attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, work harder and be more intent on keeping ourselves holy and worthy to receive our Lord into ourselves. Surely, we are all sinners and delinquents before God, but if we make the effort to keep ourselves holy and devoted to Him, He will grant us His favour.
May the Blessed Virgin Mary, assumed into heaven body and soul by the power and favour of our Lord Jesus Christ, continue to pray for us and intercede for our sake, that we too may also experience the same glory she had received, and join her with all the other saints and holy people of God, to be with God for eternity and where death no longer has any power or say over us. God be with us all, forever and ever. Amen.