Today’s reflection is for the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, August 15, 2020, and the readings can be found by clicking here.
Our Lady of the Assumption Parish, in Turlock, where I presently serve as an Instituted Acolyte, and soon as Deacon, celebrates with joy the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary today. The word, “assumption” simply means “a taking,” or “a taking up into heaven.” In 1950 Pope Pius XII in his Apostolic Constitution, Munificentissimus Deus, invoked papal infallibility and officially defined the dogma of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of Jesus and mother of the Church.
The dogma is only this, “We proclaim and define it to be a dogma revealed by God that the immaculate Mother of God, Mary ever virgin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into the glory of heaven.” In this dogma the church reveals not only the truth of Mary receiving eternal reward and perfect unity with God for herself, body and soul, but also that by her assumption she received what is promised to all Christians, final bodily resurrection.
Every Sunday at Mass we profess our faith by reciting the Creed, wherein we profess our belief in among other things, “the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.” The Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed came out of two great councils, Nicea in 325AD and Constantinople in 381AD. In these councils, the church not only codified its own beliefs, but also lay to rest all other claims to the contrary. And so it was for Pope Pius XII in 1950 in his day.
Many non-Catholic Christians do not believe in the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, while Eastern Catholics and Roman Catholics do, Orthodox Christians do, as well as Anglican’s and some other protestant Christians. While the assumption of Mary is not explicitly taught in the Bible, there are plenty of Biblical passages that would make the argument for belief very reasonable indeed. It’s probably import to note that while the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception is not “Biblical,” meaning that it’s not found explicitly in the Bible, neither is it “anti-Biblical,” meaning that it is against the teaching of the Bible. The assumption is in fact “extra Biblical,” meaning that it is not found in Scripture, but does not contradict it.
While Mary’s assumption is not in the Bible, there are assumptions in the bible. Elijah, at the end of his earthly life was taken up “assumed” in a fiery chariot at the end of his earthly life (2Kings 2:8-12). Also, Enoch in Genesis 5:25, walked with God and God took him. Whereas others died, or were laid to rest, Elijah, Enoch, and Mary, give us reasonable hope that our eternal destiny is not the grave but the resurrection of soul and earthly body at the end of time.
Today’s first reading gives witness that Mary, the woman “clothed with the sun” was taken to a place prepared for her by God. The second reading teaches that in Christ all shall be brought to life–Jesus was the first fruits and then all those who belong to Him, in proper order, and the Gospel teaches us that Mary’s, “soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord” and her “Spirit exults in God [her] savior.” And if our goal is that of Elijah’s and Enoch’s and Mary’s, then like Mary, our soul too must proclaim the Lord’s greatness and our spirit must exult not in the things of the world, not in earthly treasure or pleasure, but in God our savior. Mary is a beautiful example celebrated each year on August 15, that we must ask ourselves always, what brings our Spirit joy? In what do we rejoice? Let us rejoice always in God our savior, and every good thing will be given to us besides–to include the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. Amen?