Saturday, XIX Week of Ordinary Time, Year A

Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Readings: 1st: Rev 11:19. 12:1-6-10; Ps: 44; 2nd:1 Cor 15:20-26; Gos: Lk 1:39-56

This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working with the Spiritan International Group of Puerto Rico &  Dominican Republic. He is the Administrator of Parroquia La Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Chancellor of the Diocesis of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on: canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, cancilleriadfh@gmail.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com.   

Today we celebrate one of the oldest feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In his Munificentissimus Deus of November 1, 1950, Pius XII solemnly declared that: “The Immaculate Mother of God, the ever-virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.” Pope Pius XII cited various Church Fathers to trace the longstanding tradition of the belief of the Assumption.

 Although the solemn definition may have been at the midpoint of the twentieth century, the belief in the Assumption of our Blessed Mother exemplifies the dynamism of revelation and the Church’s ongoing understanding of it as guided by the Holy Spirit.

Our first reading from Revelation, recounts the vision of the ark of the covenant in heaven and of the woman clothed with the sun. After delivering her baby, she suffered a great tribulation from which God protected her and her offspring. Right from the Patristic era, the Blessed Virgin Mary has been associated with the ark of the covenant. That is, bearing Christ the fullness of God’s new covenant.

In the second reading, Paul recalls the resurrection of Christ and its importance for all believers. Our hope lies in the fact that Christ who himself was resurrected by the Father will also facilitate our own resurrection at his appointed time. Did he leave his mother and first disciple behind?

Certainly not, for he promised: “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (Jn 14:3). So, what we celebrate today is a promised fulfilled in its most excellent, honorable and adorable fashion. Christ protected not only the soul of His mother conceived without sin, but also her incorruptible body.

Therefore, today’s Gospel reminds us that Mary’s Assumption into heaven is best understood with regard to the full understanding of Catholic beliefs about the person of Christ and the person of Mary. Only Mary, who was born without the stain of original sin could give birth to Christ, who is fully God and fully human.

Due to her role in God’s plan of salvation, she does not suffer from the effects of sin, which are death and decay. Mary is the first to receive the fullness of the redemption that her son has won for all of humanity. The Church, therefore, recognizes Mary as the sign of the salvation promised to all.

Today’s Solemnity gives each of us great hope as we contemplate this important attribute of this great woman and of faith of our faith, the Blessed Virgin and Mother of God. She motivates us by her example and prayer to grow in God’s grace, to be receptive to His will, to transform our lives through sacrifice and penance. Above all, she motivates us to seek and fix our eyes on that everlasting union in the kingdom of heaven.

Peace be with you.

Maranatha!

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