Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Sunday, August 15, 2021
· Sundays are dedicated to primarily celebrate the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ, making every Sunday a “little Easter”, if you will, where we honour Our Lord’s rising to Eternal Life.
· However, certain celebrations in the life of our Church are so significant that if they occur on a Sunday, then that celebration will become the focal point of our prayers, though without removing Christ from the celebration since every time we honour one of the saints of God we are speaking of the ways in which they magnified the Lord in their lives and showed us how to be disciples of the Risen Christ.
· It so happens this year that Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary into heaven falls on a Sunday and so we are blessed to remember this remarkable privilege that God bestowed on Mary: That when the course of her earthly life had come to a close, both her body and soul were assumed into heaven, as a sign of hope for all of us to one day also rise body and soul to dwell with God for all eternity.
· Though Our Lady now experiences perfect communion with Christ in heaven, this reality of being with her Son was something that she experienced throughout her journey here on earth.
· Given that for the past few Sundays we have been speaking of the mystery of the Holy Eucharist, I would like to suggest today that one way to appreciate the great mystery of Mary’s Assumption into heaven is by looking at Mary as The Woman of the Eucharist.
· Now Our Lady likely first received Holy Communion, as we know it in the sacrament we receive at Mass, sometime after Pentecost when she and the Apostles and Disciples received the Holy Spirit as tongues of fire. It is uncertain if she was present at the Last Supper for the first Eucharist, as she is not mentioned as being there, though some have thought that she along with other disciples were in the home that evening yet not present in the Upper Room with the 12 Apostles who received the Eucharist for the very first time.
· She most certainly received the Blessed Sacrament when she joined with the Apostles and Disciples for those first celebrations of the Mass in the days that followed Pentecost and likely continued to receive the Eucharist whenever she took part of what the Acts of the Apostles called the celebrations of the Breaking of the Bread.
· But Mary had long ago received the Eucharist before this gift was given at the Last Supper. Her First Holy Communion was the day she was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit and conceived the Only Begotten Son in her womb. At the moment of the miraculous conception of Jesus within the womb of Mary, she had the Eucharist within her, in both her body and her soul. In those nine months that Jesus grew in her immaculate womb, becoming bone of her bone and flesh of her flesh, she was also becoming more and more united to her Son, knowing what it was like to have God with her, within her and rejoicing in soul and body in this new sense of union with God.
· Even after Jesus’ miraculous birth, this experience of being with her Son remained as Mary continued to spiritually commune with Christ, pondering all the words and actions of his life deeply within her heart. She was united to Him and He to her, whenever He taught, when He performed miracles, when she prayed with Him, dined with Him, stood by Him as He died, when He rose again, when He ascended on high and for every day she continued her pilgrimage of faith in the early days of the Church until that time came for her journey on earth to end and she be assumed body and soul into heaven. At every moment of her life, she was The Woman of the Eucharist.
· The Church has remained undecided on whether or not Mary actually experienced physical death before she was assumed body and soul into heaven. Some say she simply fell into a deep sleep of peace and her body and soul where miraculously brought into heaven. Others say she underwent death like her Son and after three days was then assumed body and soul into eternal bliss.
· However the mystery of the Assumption unfolded, we know that her first moments in heaven would have been that of perfect holy communion with her son, a union she knew on that day she conceived him in her womb and for the duration of her earthly life and now be revealed to creation as the Woman clothed in the sun, with the moon under her feet and the 12 stars of heaven in her crown as the Queen Mother of the Kingdom of her Son, both on earth and in heaven.
· Mary’s Assumption is then our inspiration and motivation to continue to maintain holy communion with our Lord so that we can one day experience the joy she knows without end. It is why we can ask for renewed gratitude that the Lord feeds us with the Eucharist to draw us closer to Him. It is why we continue to fight the good fight of faith when there are so many voices in the world that tempted us to give up on God and our Church when it is judged in purely human terms and stripped of her vocation of bringing souls to eternity. It why we continue to believe in moments of unbelief and when God feels far away.
· This earthly life, like Our Lady’s, really does pass away in the blink of an eye when we compare it to living forever. Might we continue on this pilgrimage of faith, as Mary did, with our hearts turned to those white shores, and beyond, a far green country onto a swift sunrise where Our Lady reigns, Body and Soul, waiting for us with open arms to reign with her and Jesus always and forever.