Revelation 11:19; 12:1-6, 10
Psalm 45:10-12, 16
1 Corinthians 15:20-27
For now, there is only one human person who has experienced the Resurrection and is with the Lord, body and soul. Who is it? Is it Alexander the Great who conquered the largest empire in the history of the world? No? Is it Julius Caesar, the conquering general who refounded Rome as an empire? No? Perhaps it is Plato or Aristotle or Plotinus or some other great philosopher? No? Is it George Washington or Thomas Jefferson? No? Perhaps it is someone very wealthy, like John D. Rockefeller or Andrew Carnegie? No? Is it some movie star, like Elvis maybe? None of these? Is it a poor Jewish woman from Nazareth, the wife of a carpenter, who, but for one fact, would be completely forgotten by history books? Yes. Her.
“He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly.” Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption, 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. He has lifted up the lowly. Who is lowlier than the Virgin Mother of God, except her son Jesus Christ? He has lifted up the lowly. Today there are monuments to this woman, basilicas and cathedrals, universities and hospitals, all this dedicated to this woman. There are cities named after her, and she is the patroness of countless countries in the world.
“From this day all generations will call me blessed”, she said, and we do call her blessed. She is blessed among women as the mother of Jesus Christ. She is blessed among all people as the first disciple of Jesus Christ, the first to be obedient to the Gospel, which was preached to her by St. Gabriel. She is blessed in the Gospel today by her cousin Elizabeth who, by the prophecy of her unborn son, recognized the mother of her Savior.
She is represented in Revelation as a woman, clothed with the sun, standing on the moon, crowned with 12 stars. Who else could this woman be, the mother of a male child destined to rule all nations? Satan wants to destroy her child, but he is not allowed to. Nor is he allowed to hurt the woman herself. We are told that there is a place prepared for her by God. In this place she awaits the fullness of time when the world will end and all other people will rise in the body as she already has.
Our second reading, from 1 Corinthians, we are promised that “just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life.” We see the fulfillment of that promise in Mary. Jesus rose from the dead, and that is why we can rise from the dead, but people wonder whether perhaps things are different for Jesus than for us; he is God after all. In the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we see the first example of a human person participating in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
We receive a further benefit from the Assumption, beyond this example which ought to confirm our hope: now we have a mother in heaven. Jesus gave his mother to us to be our mother, the mother of all people. The other saints in heaven are waiting to rise in their bodies, so they are, for now, pure souls, but Mary is more like us, as we are now, as we will be after the Resurrection of the body. With such a sympathetic figure drawing us in, what will prevent us from reaching heaven? We have in Jesus a Savior who is the way to heaven, the only mediator between God and man, and we have in Mary a mother to help us approach Jesus.