Rev 11:19, 12:1-6, 10; I Cor 15:20-26. Lk 1:39-56
The queen was at the table to serve the guest. She placed the mangoes in a golden plate and set before the king and the guest. Everyone was well pleased with it and the king rewarded the fruit seller.
Today, the feast of the Assumption of Our Lady, assures us that we have a queen to present our cause before God in a way acceptable to him.
The origin of the Catholic belief in the Assumption of Mary goes back to many centuries. The Feast represents a Catholic Doctrine that was defined by Pope PiusXII on November 1, 1950. The proclamation of the Church states that, revealed by God, the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into Heavenly glory. This glorification is simply the result of the singularly heroic and complete surrender to the Will of God.
We have to appreciate her extraordinary life, vocation, commitment and sufferings. Her Immaculate Conception was the beginning of her heroic life, and her assumption was the end. But the road in between was the way of the cross. At every step she said, “Yes” to God. She said “Yes” at the annunciation, submitting to God’s plans as the “handmaid of the Lord”, when in spite of the words of the angel, so many things about her future remained unclear. She said “Yes” again at Bethlehem, when Jesus was born in the midst of so much poverty. She said “Yes” when she was told to flee with the child to Egypt. She said “Yes” to God at Nazareth for thirty years, when she experienced many anxious moments. She said “Yes” to her loneliness when Jesus left her. She said “Yes” to God when she heard about the opposition that Jesus received from the Religious leaders. She said “Yes” to God when she stood at the foot of the cross. Her life was a perfect submission to the plan of God.
The Ten Commandments are summed up into two. “Love God with all your heart and Love your neighbour.” With her unconditional “Yes” to the plan of God she had perfectly obeyed the first commandment. Mary, too remains, as an excellent example for loving the neighbours. Having learnt from the angel that her cousin Elizabeth was about to give birth to a child, Mary set quickly to visit her. It was a long and dangerous journey for a girl of her age, yet she did not think of herself but of the need of her cousin. At Cana when she learned that they had no wine she brought it to the notice of her son. She was sensitive to the need of others. At the foot of the cross Jesus has entrusted her with the care of the whole humanity, and she accepted it.
She was a woman of strength and courage who experienced poverty, alienation, suffering and exile. With all these experiences she remained close to God and close to humanity. Therefore, God worked wonders through her.
In the first century BC, Rome was the centre of attention. As the political power rested with it, the Roman emperor became the most powerful man. But God was establishing his might deed not through the mighty and powerful Emperor nor through the nobility, but through the humble submission of a Jewish girl. The determining event in history was not taking place in Rome, but in Mary. In the course of time Rome sank into oblivion, but the insignificance or Mary gained prominence, it still exerts tremendous influence on the lives of countless men and women even after 200 years.
The Assumption is a day on which to focus ourselves anew on our final goal, and our final hope of glory. It is an assurance that one day we too will stand up there with Mary with the moon beneath our feet, clothed with the sun and the stars as the crown on our heads. To achieve this goal our Mother invites us to joyfully submit to God’s plan; to grow always more conscious of our lowliness; to put our complete trust in God; and to respond to God through service to our neighbour.