Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are celebrating a great feast of our faith, that is the Assumption of our Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, who bore Christ into this world, her Assumption into heaven. What is this Assumption and why is it so special and so important to us? What is the significance of this event in our faith and in our Church?
The feast of the Assumption of Mary celebrates an important part of our faith that is the assumption of Mary at the end of her earthly life into heaven. This is not the same as our death and resurrection, brothers and sisters, because Mary did not die, nor did death had any sort of power over her. Instead, our Blessed Virgin and Mother of God was taken up in both body and spirit into heaven by the power of God Himself. Nothing truly is impossible for God, even with this kind of feat.
Our brethren in the Eastern Rites of the Church celebrate a similar but slightly different celebration called the Dormition of the Virgin Mary, in which, they believe that Mary was brought to sleep and then taken into heaven, not unlike our doctrine on the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin. All are centred on the fate of Mary, the mother of God, after the death, resurrection, and Ascension of her Son, Jesus into His glorious throne in heaven.
The great and saintly Pope Pius XII, whom will soon be declared saint when his canonisation process is complete in the near future, declared the Dogma of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven 63 years ago, on 1 November of the year 1950 in his Apostolic Constitution ‘Munificentissimus Deus’ declaring definitively and conclusively through an infallible ‘ex cathedra’ proclamation, and in conjuction with the well-established belief and tradition of the faith that Mary did not suffer any form of physical death at the end of her life in this world, but instead was taken bodily into heaven.
Why was Mary taken up into heaven? Like Enoch of old, one of the direct descendants of Adam and an ancestor of Noah, she was taken up from us in this world into heaven to be with God. Enoch, unlike the other sons and daughters of mankind at the time, was a righteous and just person, a man of integrity, and a man of God, devoted and dedicated to the Lord his Master and Creator. It is because of his righteousness and his goodness, God did not want to allow him to be claimed by death and suffering, but He lifted him up into heaven, to be with Him for eternity.
Similarly, this had happened to Mary, the mother of our God. And even greater than Enoch because Mary was indeed special, in another essential part of our faith, we believe that Mary was indeed born into this world and indeed was conceived without the taint of sin, original sin or whatsoever. This she had revealed herself to St. Bernadette Soubirous, at the site now famously known as Lourdes, in a series of vision and appearances more than 150 years ago.
Our Lord’s mother was conceived into this world without sin, or the Immaculate Conception of Mary was because ever before she was conceived, she had been chosen as the vessel through which, the Salvation of our world is to come from. Yes, she was the one to bear the very Son of the Most High God, who came down to be one of us, that through Him, the whole of mankind may be saved from death, that is not just the physical death, but the eternal death caused by the separation from God in hell.
And because Mary had been chosen to be the mother of our Lord and God who is perfect and without sin Himself, it is fitting that she herself has no sin or taint on her own, and that brought about her Immaculate Conception, that she was indeed, through her life, pure as snow and blameless, as a lamb without defect, the same as her Son, Jesus.
In the same way then, at the end of her life, Mary did not suffer death and was directly brought to heaven in the same way Enoch her ancestor was taken up by God. Mary did not suffer death because just as her Son Jesus had conquered death and be triumphant over all evils and hell through His most glorious resurrection from the dead after His crucifixion, thus, it is not fitting for His own mother to be claimed by the power of death. Yes, because death is in fact a punishment to us, brothers and sisters in Christ, because we have rebelled and sinned against the Lord our God Almighty.
Ever since our first forefathers sinned against God by their disobedience, they have been cast out from the perfection of the Lord. Death was not originally intended for them, and never would death had claimed them, because they would have remained with God in eternal happiness had it not been for their sin and disobedience. Suffering and death is then the punishment that mankind had to suffer for the sins they have committed.
Through Mary, the deliverance of our world was brought at hand, the deliverance brought through Jesus, the shepherd and not any shepherd, but the Good Shepherd, who will lead the people of God, as the King of all the nations, and King of all kings. The vision of St. John the Baptist in the Book of Revelation on the lady crowned by stars bearing the baby indeed reflect what had happend through Mary and her Son, Jesus our Lord and Saviour. Mary is exalted above all else save God Himself, because of her role in the plan of salvation, and her many good deeds and total obedience to the will of God.
The lady labouring with child in pain, in fact also represent all of us, all mankind ever since the time of Adam until the last man, who labour in difficulty and suffering, longing to be freed from the seemingly inevitable and unescapeable fate of death and damnation in hell for our sins and disobedience. The great red dragon, who is Satan, the enemy of all that is good, threatens to destroy us, and drag us with him into eternal damnation in hell, just as he had converted even many of the heavenly angels to his cause, represented by the one third of the stars of the sky taken by the dragon.
Yet, as we know that the deliverance had come, through the Son of God made man, Jesus Christ. Yes, He is the Son destined to rule the nations, and the One taken up to heaven, to the throne of God. Yes, exactly as what had happened, that after His death and resurrection, Jesus was taken up into heaven by His own power in His glorious Ascension. He will then come again in glory, to judge all the nations and deliver the righteous ones to Him, and cast the wicked ones forever away from His presence. He is our hope, our only hope, born through the Virgin Mary, whose Assumption we celebrate today.
Why then we celebrate this Assumption? That is because, our Blessed Virgin Mary is truly an example to all of us, the role model we ought to follow, through her upright life, filled with love, devotion, and full obedience to the will of God. She is the greatest help and intercessor to us, indeed, the greatest of all saints and angels in heaven, the one nearest to the throne of God. That is why we revere her as the Queen of all saints and of angels. Her Assumption into heaven reminds all of us of this fact, as well as the fact that through Jesus, her Son, we have all been saved, saved from death and eternal damnation in hell.
Jesus gave Mary to John, His disciple, before He died on the cross, and He also gave him to her, to care for one another. At that moment, the Lord gave both Mary to all of us, represented by John, and then all of us, He also entrusted to Mary, His mother, just as He entrusted John to her care. Yes, in Mary we have our greatest defender, and our greatest help in achieving the salvation offered by our Lord Jesus Christ, indeed, the best way to Christ is through Mary, that is by following her examples, be obedient and loving as she had been, and asking her for her intercession for our sake before her Son, Jesus.
That is why, brothers and sisters, let us strengthen our love and devotion to the Lord, by strengthening our own devotion to Mary, His mother, who was lifted up to heaven in glory at the end of her life and now defend us before Satan our accuser. Let us together with our mother, Mary, rebuke Satan and reject his evil advances and temptations, and put his head under our feet and crush it, just as Mary, through her Son, had crushed the head of the evil snake, as foretold by God Himself to Eve.\
May the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of our Lord Jesus, in her glorious Assumption into heaven, continue to pray for us, and intercede for us with all the saints and angels of heaven before the throne of her Son Jesus, that He, the King of all Kings and the victorious and conquering king, will come to smite the devil, the dragon, and bring us all to Him, and bless us with eternal grace and eternal life in heaven. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.