Sermon for the Assumption of Our Lady

“All men will be brought to life in Christ”.

The words of St Paul in the Second Reading are an invitation to each of us to look for new life in Christ.  That question that we need to ask of ourselves again and again, “What is the most overriding hope, desire and wish of my life?”  The answer must be and should be by virtue of the fact that we are at Mass, is to know Jesus Christ, to be with Him, to wish to convert to Him and repent of our sins and for Him to take us to Heaven.  This is both a journey of faith and one that must be enlivened and enriched by the Holy Spirit.  In today’s Gospel, we hear of how Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit by virtue of her meeting with Mary.  The journey of faith that will take us to Heaven is made most perfect and holy in the Feast that we celebrate today.  In celebrating the Assumption of Our Lady into Heaven, we give thanks to God that Our Lady was assumed into Heaven, body and soul.  Unlike us, she received no corruption in death and willingly and beautifully went to her Son in the eternal banquet.

So what does Our Lady show us on this great Feast?  Not only does she teach us how to open our hearts to the promise of God wanting to dwell within us, but also she accompanies us and in the ways of God’s mystery brings God to us and presents us to Him.  We need on this great Feast, to ask her to greet us so that we may come to God in the same way that she greeted her cousin Elizabeth who was filled with the Holy Spirit.  So let us go to Mary and with her let us go with Haste to greet Elizabeth.  Remember how Mary had just been told at the Annunciation by the Archangel Gabriel, that she was to be the Mother of God.  This news was something extraordinary, wonderful and beyond all imagining.  In these last few days we have been watching the winners of gold, silver and bronze at the Olympic Games, as we watch their faces and those of their relations and friends we see how joyful and happy they are.  Mary is also full of joy but she has a joy that is not earthly for the world cannot contain it, it is beyond because it comes from being touched by God and knowing that God is totally involved in her life.  It is that joy that took her with haste to Elizabeth and we are invited to ask for the same haste and joy in sharing that same good news.  If we truly know Jesus Christ, have come to Him and wish to go with Him to Heaven, how much joy and haste there must be as we go to our brothers and sisters to speak of this good news.

Mary greets Elizabeth, not with a perfunctory “Hello”, “Ciao”, but with an expression of deep vulnerability and fragility.  Remember how it was that she had been told that she is to be the Mother of God, and it is upon her acceptance, her fiat that God will become incarnate in our world.  It is on her that the hopes of salvation rest and therefore as a 15 year old, she goes with great vulnerability and fragility to greet Elizabeth.  In the same way she GREETS and praises God in the Magnificat that we hear gloriously sung in the Gospel today.  It is through that greeting that Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit.  How much we must allow Mary to greet us so that she can open our hearts to know God and to receive the Holy Spirit.

Elizabeth cries out “Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord?”  We need to ask of ourselves why should we be honoured with a visit from Mary for indeed she wants to come to us.  In coming to us in haste and greeting us she wants to lead us to the fullness of life in the Kingdom of Heaven as she introduces us to her Son.  She wants to form us so that we may be filled with the Holy Spirit and so on this beautiful day, this great day of Feasting, let us ask her to do that.  Today we rejoice in this perfect journey of faith as the one who is the spouse of the Holy Spirit has come to us in haste to speak of Christ.  It was asked at the beginning what is our great wish and desire.  It is to know Christ and to be with Christ and it is Mary who can teach us how to do that.  Let us ask her to greet us with the good news of Jesus Christ so that each of us may be filled with the Holy Spirit and in our turn, we can go to others and speak to them of Christ.  Mary is no active participant, she is real, actual and active in the work of salvation.  Let us be ready to meet her most personally and profoundly so that we may come to know her Son.  Mary is given to us by God in a great act of love.  Today as we celebrate the Assumption, let us praise and thank God as Mary does in the Magnificat.  “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord”.  Let that Magnificat ring and sing in our hearts.

“All men will be brought to life in Christ”.  Those words of Paul are an invitation to us to come to know Jesus Christ, we have been given that most perfect accomplice and friend.  Let us rejoice in this truth in these days.