THE ASSUMPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY 2020 (HOMILY)
Many Catholic parishioners have shared with me that protestant church members have questioned us about Mother Mary and even about her Assumption into Heaven. Jesus’ Ascension into heaven is clearly stated in the Bible whereas it nothing was mentioned about Mary’s Assumption into Heaven. We are thought as just creating this doctrine without any biblical foundation, leading that the Universal Church allegedly embarks on wrong teachings.
The Protestant churches believe only in “Sola Scriptura”, also known as Scripture alone, being their highest teaching and inspiration. We, Catholics, learn our teaching and get our inspiration which come both traditions and scriptures, as both of them are inseparable. If you look at everything that the churches teach about Mary and her role, you will find that references to her all showed us how to grow and be closer to her Son, Jesus Christ. This inevitably guide us to develop a greater and deeper understanding of our faith, in the life of the Catholic Church and the destiny of our lives.
Therefore, this Feast of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven is, of course not stated in the Holy Scripture. Absolutely inspired, Pope Pius XII declared that this Feast was to be given its honour and respect, so much so that it became a doctrine of the Catholic Church on November 1st, 1950, He announced, “The Immaculate Mother of God, the Blessed Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.”
Today, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption. Today, again, marks Mary’s life here on earth and her going to heaven to be with her Son, in the presence of God. Her body and soul assumed into heaven means there are no bones and no tomb of our Lady to venerate or respect. It said that she did not die like other human beings but God has taken her into heaven directly in a unique way. Of course, there is no biblical basis for this teaching. It is purely taught by Roman Catholic Church. She was “uniquely graced, protected from sin, so that she might co-operate and with her Son’s saving mission.”
During her earthly life, Mary chose to lead the plans God had for Her. She obediently obeyed to the will of God as she said, “I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done unto me according to your word.” She realised that doing God’s will was (and still is) utmost importance, and greater than her own wills.
This we must learn from Her. We need to discern and know God’s will for us, and trust on His plans for the salvation of human kind, whom He loves dearly. She graced Her life with humility and simplicity, especially when She responded to the announcement Angel Gabriel had for Her. “Let it be done to me according to your words.” (Luke 1:38).
It is not easy at this present age to be faithful Catholics, let alone be truly practising Christian. We need to be firm in our believes, and we should listen and do what pleases our God. Doing His will sets us apart (also) as the disciple of Christ and God takes delight in us. When we take courage to do His will, we will find hope in our lives. On this earthly life, let our lives be assumed into the same holiness of Mother Mary, as we reflect on Her characteristic in fulfilling the will of God through her humility.
Rev. Fr George Packiasamy.