The Assumption of Mary (A)

Joseph Evans comments on the readings of the Assumption of Mary (A).

Joseph Evans-August 15, 2023-Reading time: 2 minutes

The precious holiday that we celebrate today teaches us that MariaAt the end of her life on earth, she was assumed body and soul into Heaven. The Church does not define whether she died or not, but most theologians and saints throughout the centuries have thought that Mary did experience death, not as a punishment for sin, but to be completely united to her Son, who willingly suffered death to save us. Our Lady helps us not to be afraid of death and to die to ourselves every day, because this is the way to life. So too, therefore, is old age.

Today's first reading shows us Our Lady in glory. Not only "shines like the sun"as Jesus says will happen to the righteous. It is "dressed in the sun"with a crown of twelve stars and the moon at his feet. His glory is far greater than ours because his holiness is far greater. This teaches us how God generously rewards us and gives us the hope of Heaven. But this was because Mary humbled herself. She is exalted by her humility, as can be seen in her response to the angel (Lk 1:38) and her Magnificat. The proud and rich are cast down, and the humble are exalted. If we want to share in Our Lady's heavenly glory, we must be humble and poor.

This feast also teaches us the importance of femininity: Mary is assumed into Heaven with a woman's body (not only with a purely spiritual soul), as the first of all holy women. Femininity is very important for God. We are made in the image and likeness of God as male and female. But true womanhood involves all that we see Mary living: her total response to God and her flexibility to respond to his plans, even when they seem to change her own; her generosity in going to help those in need, as she went to help her cousin; and the joy with which she reaches out, praising God with a joyful heart, a heart that rejoices in God's power and saving works, and rejoices in being one of his little ones.

True femininity is Mary's attentive gaze towards the needs of others, as at Cana, and her boldness in turning to her Son, and her gentle insistence. It is her courage at the foot of the Cross. She cannot do much, but she is there, and that is already a lot. True femininity is Mary's maternal concern for the Church, holding her together when she was in danger of breaking, and her presence at Pentecost in the heart of the praying Church, for what is the Church without the prayer of women?

Mary intercedes for us from Heaven and invites us to follow her. And, again, the way to follow her is to ask her help to be humble. "Cast down the mighty from the throne and exalt the lowly"Mary helps us to see ourselves and to live as servants, and to find our joy in this. Mary helps us to see ourselves and to live as servants, and to find our joy in this.

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