HOMILY FOR THE FEAST OF ASSUMPTION
AGORSOR AARON AGBESHIE
REVELATION 11:19a; 12:1-6a, 10ab/ PSALM 44:10-12, 16/1CORINTHIANS 15:20-27/LUKE 1:39-56
THEME: ASSUMPTION: OUR HOPE
In 1946, Pope Pius Xll wrote to all the bishops in the world to ask them what their people believed in regard to the bodily assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The almost unanimous reply that the people believed that the Assumption has been divinely revealed by God; further, they petitioned that this truth be officially defined as a dogma of the Catholic Church. Accordingly, on November 1, 1950, in the Apostolic Constitution “MUNIFICENTISSIMUS,” Solemnly declared it as a dogma.
The continued observance of the assumption on a Sunday when August 15 falls on that day would seem to contradict the new general principle that only Christological Feasts should replace or displace the regular Sundays in Ordinary Time. Perhaps the significance of this is that Mariology is rightly understood as an aspect of Christology. In other words, one cannot talk about Christology with Mariology and vice versa. The Blessed Virgin Mary is nothing in herself, but of great importance in salvation history as the chosen instrument of the incarnation.
The dogma of the Assumption should be a message of joy and hope for us all. Mary’s Assumption carries a grand message for us, since there is no essential difference between her glorification and that which we expect if we remain faithful to the Lord in our battle against evil. This doctrine should be a message of joy and hope to us who try to imitate her in the following of her Son our Lord Jesus Christ. The foundation for Mary’s Assumption is that she was the Mother of God; but her motherhood was more than just a physical act. Her total freedom was involved in the redemptive mission of Christ. For she freely accepted her role in redemption, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done unto me according to your word (Luke 1:38). She remained true to this commitment throughout the life of Jesus namely she nourished and raised him; she took him to Jerusalem (Luke 2:41-50); she shared in his public ministry (John 2:1-12); she was with him in his passion and death (John 19:25-27); she stayed with the Apostles and prayed with them before Pentecost (Acts 1:14).
Mary is described as the Ark of the New Covenant. “What made the original ark so holy? Not the Gold that coated the outside, but the Ten Commandments inside- the Law that had been inscribed by the finger of God on tablets of stone , Manna and the rod of Aaron that blossomed as a sign of his office as high Priest( Numbers 17). On the other hand what makes the new ark holy is that Mary contained in her womb the Word of God who became man and dwelt among us. The Ark contained manna; Mary contained the living bread come down from heaven; the Ark contained the rod of Aaron, a symbol of his Priesthood; Mary’s womb contained the eternal high Priest, Jesus Christ.”
In the Gospel reading Mary’s praise of God as savior should not escape notice. Her confession expresses the desperate need of the lowly, the poor, the oppressed and the hungry. Those who have power cannot make such confession because they are self-sufficient. The word “Saviour” presupposes a need for help. Like Mary, we all are in need of God in one way or another. This is because we are assailed by so many challenges and difficulties. Mary recognized her need of a savior; she recognizes the fact that her entire life and how meaningful it was, it is and it will be depends upon God. No wonder Mary is called blessed because she believed in God’s promises. Blessed are we too who believe in God’s promises because they are true and everlasting.
The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is the least God can do to humanity. We should not doubt this at all since God has done greater things for his Son namely the Resurrection. Indeed, he is looking forward to do for us what He did for Jesus namely to resurrect our mortal bodies too. Let us have faith in the Assumption because it foreshadows our own Resurrection. It is a sign that we too will one day enjoy the beatific vision.