If you are looking at a particular sermon and it is removed it is because it has been updated.

For example Year C 2010 is being replaced week by week with Year C 2013, and so on.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

21st Sunday in Ordinary time (Year 2)

Twenty-first Sunday (Year B)                         (Joshua 24:1-2, 15-18; Ephesians 5:21-32; John 6:60-69)

The Gospel passage today, People of God, refers to the Eucharist and continues last Sunday’s reading; Jesus is addressing certain Jews who, quite understandably with their background, found the words of eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of Man as repulsive and unacceptable.  However, in our Mass today, the continuation of that previous Gospel reading has been put in close proximity to St. Paul’s teaching that, in Christian marriage, the wife must respect and obey her husband who, in his turn, must love and cherish his wife.  Let us therefore take up Jesus’ words with dissenting disciples and allow them to illuminate St. Paul’s teaching on the true nature and purpose of Christian marriage and our appreciation of it.
Does this offend you?   What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before?  It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing.  The words I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.
St. Paul has become a “bĂȘte noir” for modern feminists who regard his teaching as being degrading for women; but then, what sort of women do those feminists have in mind, women of the world or Christian women?  The devil’s sin is pride, and the easiest and most acceptable way of leading human beings astray is for him to give them a shot or two of pride into the arm, so to speak.  We Christians, therefore, need to be very careful whom we allow to influence us; and, at times, we have to examine the motives of those who put themselves forward as leaders because we cannot allow ourselves to be guided by the thinking of people whose stated aims are inevitably and essentially worldly: gilded over with so-called acceptable pride; polished and presented for easy assimilation and popularity;  promoted by, and serving as safety-valve for, deep-seated emotional tendencies to self-assertion.
Let us then look at Paul’s teaching:
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord: as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. (Eph 5:22, 24)
The feminists say, of course: what woman could accept that?
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, nourish and cherish (them), just as the Lord does the Church.
The boys, macho-men, likewise respond immediately with: what man would want that?
Women will, of course, accuse many men of violence; and men, likewise, will complain of most women’s uncontrolled emotionalism.  However the prime target against which the feminists’ inveigh is what they see as the humiliation of woman in Christian marriage, while the boys target the suffocating bondage and responsibility with which they imagine Christian family life would stifle them.
If those views were the only possible interpretations of St. Paul’s teaching it would be very difficult indeed to understand how it has come about that Christianity has raised the status and dignity of women more than any other religious faith.  How could a religion preaching the so-called humiliation of woman in marriage have lifted up the status, and confirmed the dignity, of women to such an extent?  On the other hand, if the bondage of responsibilities and chastity were so objectionable and unsatisfying for men -- as the boys say -- how could it be that Christian family life has shown itself to be the stable bed-rock of Western, indeed world-wide, democratic society?
As you can see, so much depends on how you look at things.  That is why we heard in the first reading Joshua, the leader of the Israelites after Moses, saying to the assembled people, “Make up your minds”:
Now therefore, fear the LORD, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt.  And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."  So the people answered and said: "Far be it from us that we should forsake the LORD to serve other gods.
Many of our troubles today are largely the due to people who, like the Israelites of old, publicly say they don’t want to forsake the Lord, but who, in their hearts, neither hold Him in fear, nor are willing to discipline their ambitions or their bodies so as to serve Him in sincerity and truth.
Jesus, in the Gospel reading, knew some such people who found His teaching hard because they were unwilling to commit themselves entirely to Him:
When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, "Does this offend you?  What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before?   It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.  
What if you see the Son of Man ascending to heaven?  Can’t you understand where I am leading you?  You will see me ascend as your leader to the place where I am preparing a place for all who will follow me.  I am not preparing you to be My disciples for a mere seventy or eighty years’ life in this sinful set-up; I have been sent to help you become, in Me, children of God, My heavenly Father.  I am, indeed, sent to make you -- by the Spirit I will send to you -- His children able to live for ever in an eternal home prepared for you in His Kingdom; but for that you have to be willing to trust me.
Just as there are many rooms in the Father’s Kingdom where Jesus is preparing to receive His faithful disciples, so too, here on earth, there are many ways of learning discipleship and some, indeed, are better than others, as both Mary and Martha learnt; but all acceptable ways involve loving God and one’s neighbour, serving, imitating, Jesus, and obeying His Spirit in the Church. 
Whatever way we choose, the whole of our life as Christians is a time of preparation for our heavenly home, a preparation whereby we are gradually purged and cleansed of our sins and formed in the likeness of Jesus by His Holy Spirit.  It is not a time for the pre-eminent pursuit of worldly vanity and pleasure, nor is it a worldly process we can monitor and appraise to our own satisfaction – even Mary had not been able to observe the full extent of her Son’s manly spiritual development before His heavenly Father.  The progress of life on earth for a disciple of Jesus is a Spiritual work, a work carried out by the Holy Spirit; and it is a faith work, a work that can only be done for those who live by faith in Jesus Christ and in that way open themselves up to His Holy Spirit and allow Him to work, even secretly, in them.
And so marriage, the Christian relationship between man and woman, is a most important relationship for the training of God’s children; it cannot be a relationship which is private to the two concerned, that is, a free-love association.  Marriage is the union of man and woman offered to Jesus, to be lived according to His teaching and for His purposes; and the words of St. Paul today are of supreme importance and indeed striking beauty in this respect.  The wife is to honour and obey her husband so that, becoming a Christian mother she can not only teach but also gently lead her children to, and accustom them in, authentic obedience to their father.  Were the father alone in requiring obedience from his children, he would almost inevitably be thought to be demanding it, and consequently considered as domineering.  The husband is to love his wife so that he can indeed lead and guide his children in tender love and consideration for their mother; for if she were alone in seeking such love she would easily be thought of as neurotic.   Christian children have to learn obedience and disciplined love in the home and there is no more beautiful way than following mother in honouring and obeying father, and joining with father in expressing love and gratitude to mum.  Thus the father can, and indeed must, rightly insist that his children love their mother; the wife can and should ensure that her children honour and respect their father by obedience.
Christian marriage is a privileged preparation ground: it continues and potentially glorifies God’s work of creation, it serves and promotes the salvation of the spouses by forming them for His heavenly family.  Every Christian blessing comes to us through the Cross; consequently, in the whole of Christian life there is the Cross, but as we see in Jesus, the Cross is ultimately something which a Christian -- as a sincere and true disciple of Jesus -- can learn to embrace, with the Lord, for love of the Father; it is something intended and able to lift us up from the earth to heaven.  Just to put it briefly in answer to the feminists and to the lads, Christian marriage is meant to help a Christian man and woman grow in humility on the one hand, and in true, self-less, love on the other hand, both of which demand responsible and enduring commitment, together with willing and patient sacrifice.  To enable them both to do this, the Christian bond of marriage bestows a share in divine love, a gift of grace which enables those who want to receive it strength to live in a way which is more than human; and that is precisely why the feminists and the lads cannot understand Christian marriage and Christian love, because it is for those destined for heaven, not for those intent on, and hoping to be satisfied, with the vanity of human pride or the satiety of worldly pleasures.
In all this however, argument is of limited value, for as Jesus said:
Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.
That does not mean that the Father denies anyone the opportunity or the ability to come to Jesus, but simply that He will not force it upon anyone; while those who do come to discipleship, must realize that it is a gift of God, not their own work.
As in His days in Palestine, Jesus’ message faithfully proclaimed by Mother Church today, still displeases many:
From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.
However, contrary to the impression given by over-anxious disciples at times, Jesus does not depend on human backing, He does not find it necessary to count “bums on seats”, as the saying goes, in order to be able to trust His Father, and so:
Jesus said to the twelve, "Do you also want to leave?"
In reply Peter said what all true believers since then have repeated wholeheartedly:
Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

20th. Sunday (Year B)     

(Proverbs 9:1-6; Ephesians 5:15-20; John 6:51-58)

Today we learn to what lengths Jesus went to in order to make people think about, pay attention to, what He was saying: Our Lord did not seek popularity, but He did, most passionately, want to be understood.
In the gospel reading He declared:
I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.
As you might well understand, the Jews were disturbed, some even incensed, at such words, and murmured among themselves:
      How can this man give us His flesh to eat?
What did Jesus do?  He went on to say something yet more difficult for pious Jews even to hear let alone accept:
Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.
For a Jew, that last statement was absolutely outrageous because it seemed quite contrary to the command God had given Noah and his sons in the beginning:
God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.  Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs.  But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.” (Genesis 9:1-4)
This same command was, moreover, given its crowning confirmation in the Law itself given to Moses on Mount Sinai:
You shall not eat any blood in any of your dwellings, whether of bird or beast.  Whoever eats any blood, that person shall be cut off from his people. (Leviticus 7:26-27)
What then is the significance of the blood?  Let us learn more from the Old Testament books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy:
The life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul. (Leviticus 17:11)
Be sure that you do not eat the blood, for the blood is the life; you may not eat the life with the meat.  The blood of your sacrifices shall be poured out on the altar of the LORD your God, and you shall eat the meat. (Deuteronomy 12: 23, 27)
God alone is – absolutely and uniquely -- the Lord of life, and so:
The blood of your sacrifices shall be poured out on the altar of the LORD your God, and you shall eat the meat.
Why, therefore, did Jesus speak in such a humanly provocative manner to the Jews by first of all saying eat My Flesh, and then following it up by the far more objectionable and religiously provocative words, drink My Blood ?   What was He trying to express that was so important, so sublimely important, that He felt the need to go to such lengths in order to make His hearers give close attention to, and think deeply about, what He was saying?
The reason is, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, that here we are given a most startlingly clear picture of the uniquely Christian awareness of the nature and the extent of God’s love for us, as also of the divine humility of Jesus.  For, although  Jesus’ blood -- the Blood of God’s only begotten Son -- was most sinfully poured out by us, yet, St. Paul (Ephesians 2:4) authoritatively assures us that:
God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us
has turned that supreme evil into the unique source of supreme blessing.  Since Jesus poured out His blood so willingly for us, God – pitying our sinful state -- allows us to make use of that poured-out blood for our own benefit!  In the light of the Christian revelation and by the grace of the Holy Spirit, we learn that, being allowed to drink the Blood of Jesus we are thereby given to imbibe life – the beginnings of divine, eternal life -- and ultimately enabled to receive, thereby, a share in the divine sonship and eternal blessedness of Christ Himself!   As Paul continues:
Even when we were dead in trespasses, (God) made us alive together with Christ.
How great is the Father’s love for us, People of God!   The blood of all creatures pertains to Him alone; how dear beyond all measure, therefore, and how unutterably precious, is the blood of His only-begotten Son made flesh?  How unimaginable is the humility with which Jesus so lovingly embraced and willingly undertook out of  obedience to His Father and compassion for us to allow His own His own blood, His most Precious Blood, to be poured out by us, in divine Providence for our sins, and so for our use, our benefit, our profit, and our salvation.
How sublimely, then, has that text of Leviticus thereby been fulfilled:
For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it (the Blood of the Immaculate Lamb of God) to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul (being the Precious Blood of the Risen and eternally living Son of Man). 
People of God, we live in evil times, we live in a society which condones, and indeed admires, all sorts of excesses: a society which, too often, teaches its children to get, not give; to enjoy pleasure rather than practice discipline; to use others, not serve them; to seek success rather than strive for honour and integrity.  We, however, in response to God’s wondrous love must, as our first reading said:
Forsake foolishness that you may live; advance in the way of understanding.
And it is here that we can appreciate another, essential, aspect of Jesus’ insistence that we eat His flesh and drink His blood.
In our world money is supreme, with most of it -- and consequently most of the world’s advantages and benefits – going, first of all, to those who are born rich and/or privileged, then to those able and prepared to fight their way, tooth and nail, to the position of top-dogs; before finally being bestowed upon the charismatic ones, both famous and the popular.  As for the underdogs -- the poor, the insignificant, those deemed dull and unpopular – they have to be satisfied with what remains over.  Jesus saw it all and warned His disciples:
You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. (Matthew 20:25)
Jesus knew that such a situation was the expression of sin’s presence in the world, and having become man in order to conquer sin and bring redemption for mankind, He therefore went on to say:
It shall not be so among you
To that end, therefore, Jesus insisted repeatedly that no one could be saved by their own native gifts or endowments of whatever sort: personal salvation cannot be won by personal endeavour using natural talents, least of all can it be acquired by human force, cunning, or deceit in any way.  It can only be humbly received as a longed-for gift subsequent on a personal encounter with and faithful response to Jesus.
Jesus spoke -- with brutal clarity, the Jews thought -- of His own Body and Blood:
Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you do not have life in you;
And He did this in order to make it absolutely clear that the Gift of eternal life, and ultimately, of salvation, can only come to us  from without ourselves; that is, as a gift, and also through a personal faith in Jesus.  
In Jesus’ Church, and in preparation for the coming Kingdom of God, all of us, in that  way, start once again on an equal footing:
The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ?  The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?  For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread. (1 Corinthians 10:16-17)
That one bread and the one cup are the source of all grace and every blessing for us, and we receive them in Mother Church through a faithful encounter with Christ, the Risen Lord, in which, St. Paul tells us in his letter to the Galatians (4:9):
Now you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God.
In that encounter we are in the presence of, and alone with, the One Lord and Saviour of all mankind: there is no one listening-in on our conversation with Him; we are free to say, ask for, what we want; free to be ourselves with Him Who not only appreciates what we are but also knows what we aspire to be.  Above all, we are, totally free before Him Who is aware of what, in His Father’s plans we might become, before Him Who sacrificed Himself on our behalf for the fulfilment of those plans. 
My dear People, the natural gifts each of us possesses have been bestowed upon us for our life in, and the benefit of, Mother Church, society in general, and the world in which we live.  Eternal salvation, however, only comes to us as a result of our personal encounter with and faithful response to God in our recognition of the One He has sent, as the ultimate fruit of our humble awareness of and personal love for Christ in the Eucharist, and as the crowning fulfilment of our commitment to the guidance of His own Most Holy Spirit in our daily living and final dying.
As we heard in the second reading we should:
Watch carefully how (we) live, not as foolish persons but as wise, making the most of the opportunity, because the days are evil.  Therefore, do not continue in ignorance, but try to understand what is the will of the Lord; giving thanks always, and for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.
Indeed, giving thanks, above all, for the wondrous beauty and goodness, the infinite mercy and compassion, of God our Father made supremely manifest to us in and through the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus His Son and our Redeemer.
We must realize, therefore, that although we are obliged to struggle at times in order to resist and overcome earthly inclinations which would lead us, through sin and self-indulgence, to death beyond the grave; nevertheless, as disciples of Jesus, our life as a whole should rather be experienced as, and characterized by, an ever deepening and developing awareness of the love and beauty both surrounding and awaiting us, as we learn, in Jesus, so to love our heavenly Father, that we can ultimately embrace -- as children of God ourselves -- a share in the heavenly inheritance of His beloved Son, thanks to the saving grace won for us by Jesus and bestowed upon us throughout our earthly pilgrimage by His Most Holy Spirit.
To the One God, therefore, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, be all glory, praise, and honour, for ever and ever. Amen

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

The Assumption of Our Lady

The Assumption of Our Lady 

 (Revelation 11:19; 12:1-6, 10; 1 Corinthians 15:20-27; Luke 1: 39-56)  

Let us hear first of all the official, dogmatic, teaching of Mother Church about Our Lady’s Assumption which we joyfully celebrate today.  The dogma proclaimed by Pope Pius XII in 1950 is quoted in our modern Catholic Catechism and reads as follows:
The Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death.
The Catechism goes on to explain:
The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son’s Resurrection and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians.
That means that Mary’s Assumption was not achieved of her own power neither was it due to her own merits: it was a gift, a unique share in the power of Jesus’ Resurrection, given her thanks to the merits of Jesus Who -- though human in body and soul -- was divine in His Person, the very Son of God made flesh, Who alone could win the victory over sin and death for the whole of mankind.  Having won that victory in the flesh and blood He received from Mary, the Assumption is the expression of Mary’s unique participation in her Son’s triumph and her unique sharing in the Redemption He won for all mankind. 
The Assumption is supremely significant because Mary, though the Mother of God, totally unique in her persoanl relationship with Jesus and in her participation in His redeeming work, nevertheless, remained one with us, one of us, totally human in her body, soul, and personality: Mary of Nazareth our glory indeed, but also our sister.  And consequently, being thus our full sister, her Assumption is a sign of hope for all of us, a sign that we too might aspire, in the Spirit, to share with her in Jesus’ redemptive Resurrection.
Jesus wanted very much to underline the oneness between us and Mary, His Mother, as we can learn from His somewhat startling response to her on a very public occasion:
His brothers and His mother came, and standing outside they sent to Him, calling Him.  And a multitude was sitting around Him; and they said to Him, "Look, Your mother and Your brothers are outside seeking You."  But He answered them, saying, "Who is My mother, or My brothers?"  And He looked around in a circle at those who sat about Him, and said, "Here are My mother and My brothers!  For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother." (Mark 3:31-35)
Evidently, He willed to make it clear for subsequent generations that Mary was no goddess, nor was she ever to be thought of as being other than one of us.  And yet, as St. John tells us, Jesus -- with what were almost His very last words as He hung, dying, on the Cross -- chose to give supreme emphasis to the reverence and love that all who would be His disciples should have for her:
Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.  When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, "Woman, behold your son!"  Then He said to the disciple, "Behold your mother!" (John 19:25-27)
Therefore, when Mary, the Mother of Jesus, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory, it was not simply for Mary herself; for she is our sister whom we might hope to follow, and much more, she is, indeed, our very mother, whom – being given to us by Jesus as His ultimate bequest from the Cross -- we can be sure will be a most constant advocate and ever-watchful help to us who have been handed over to her spiritual solicitude and maternal care.  In that way we are most surely encouraged to have sure confidence and firm hope that if we prove to be faithful disciples of Jesus to the end, we can and will eventually follow Our Lord heavenward and share in His glory, just as she, our dear sister and revered mother, has already done.
The dogma of the Assumption was, as I said, promulgated in 1950 by Pope Pius XII.  It was nothing new; it had been loved, meditated and celebrated in the Church from the earliest times.  It was at the beginning of the 5thC. that what had been traditionally celebrated as her Dormition or sleeping in earthly death, became rather the celebration of her “birthday”: her birth into heavenly life, that is, her Assumption.  There are apocryphal stories written early in the history of the Church telling of the death of Mary, how her body was buried under the tree of life, and how she was translated into heaven.  Some scholars think these stories arose after the feast started to be celebrated; others, however, think the first of the apocryphal tales go back to the earliest times, and that there was probably an immemorial veneration of the tomb of Mary in Jerusalem by early Jewish converts to Christianity.
Such stories however, although picturesque, sometimes moving, or even instructive, are not the basis of our present faith which rests securely on the ancient devotion and approved worship of the Church, in accordance with the teaching of the Scriptures and under the perennial guidance of the Spirit.
Whenever the body of a disciple of Jesus and child of the Church is brought into church the night before burial we read the Gospel passage which goes:
Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. (John 14:1-2)
There, at the Last Supper, Jesus was speaking to His sorrowing disciples in order to comfort them in their distress at the thought of His imminent Passion and Death.  Think how Jesus must have willed above all to comfort His Mother in her distress: surely, first and foremost, He would want and will to prepare a place for her!
And where would that place be?  The disciples were distressed that Jesus was going to be taken from them, and so Jesus promised:
If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. (John 14:3)
Who more than Mary longed to be where Jesus was?  Who had cherished Him so dearly, nurtured Him so carefully, supported Him so selflessly; who had followed Him so faithfully and with such sympathy throughout His whole public ministry; who like Mary had shared the opprobrium heaped upon Him by so many, and who like Mary had experienced and appreciated His loneliness and abandonment standing below and beside Him as he died on the Cross?
Again, Jesus prayed most solemnly at the Last Supper:
Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. (John 17:24)
Now who, conceivably, could long to see the glory of her Son more than His Mother; and, indeed, who deserve more fittingly than her, to share it?
However, all such considerations are included in, and embraced by, these other words of Jesus:
If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honour. (John 12:26)
Mary’s whole life with her Son was, indeed, a life of total and whole-hearted love and service, given directly and personally to Jesus from the moment of His conception.  And yet, even that, is not the sum total of Mary’s commitment to and sharing with Jesus throughout her life on earth, for, just as St. Peter, writing (1 Peter 4:14) to the early Christians threatened with persecution by the Roman State, said:
If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you;
so too, we are told of Mary that she was blessed with the Spirit of glory and of God resting on her from the beginning of her motherhood, that is, she was blessed with the ability, and called to embrace the opportunity, to share with her Son in all His endeavours and sufferings.
This was made clear to her in the Temple at Jerusalem, when, together with St. Joseph -- and with her heart surely filled with ecstatic joy and gratitude to God – she was presenting her Son to the Lord, a Temple priest, Simeon by name, approached them, and, we are told :
Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, "Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." (Luke 2:34-35)
Yes, Mary would follow her Son unswervingly to the end, until He died, before her very eyes on the Cross; and even then, her sufferings for Him were not over, since she was further called to participate most intimately in the early trials and turmoil of His nascent Church.
The fact is that Jesus, in all that He did, carried with Him and worked in and through, the flesh and blood that Mary had uniquely given Him.  She was so intimately one with Him in all that He did, in and through His sacred humanity; and that is why she alone has been so uniquely honoured by the Father that she is now where Jesus is, in heaven!.  Jesus, bearing Mary’s flesh, died, was buried, and rose again; therefore, Mary too, in her flesh died, was buried, and then -- thanks to her Son’s Personal holiness and Divine majesty -- knowing no corruption just as she had known no sin, was raised to share with Him His heavenly glory.
People of God, let us, therefore, rejoice on the occasion of this solemn feast, and repeat with heartfelt joy the words of Mary herself:
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour; for He has looked with favour on His lowly servant.  From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. (Luke 1:46-49)
Having praised God in the first outpouring of her soul, Mary then spoke words of ultimate comfort of her children, words which afford us both confidence and courage as we strive to serve and follow Jesus our Lord and Saviour:
He has mercy on those who fear Him in every generation.
The Assumption of Mary is still for us, in this the third millennium, a source of inspiration and of hope; for the arm of the Lord is not shortened, His mercy and love are eternal.  What was given to Mary was given her uniquely indeed, but not exclusively, for it was intended also for us, ‘those who fear Him from generation to generation’.  Let us, therefore, as her children, treasure and take to heart the words Elizabeth used to characterize our mother:
Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfilment of those things which were told her from the Lord.