Solemnity of the
of the Blessed Virgin Mary
A Homily - Cycle B 2011-2012
by Fr. Luke Dundon
First Reading Revelation 11:19a
Responsorial Psalm 45:10, 11, 12, 16
Second Reading 1 Corinthians 15:20-27
Gospel Luke 1:39-56
Luke writes to explain that
Christ came to save everyone.
Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled." And Mary said:
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior for he has looked upon 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. He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation. He has shown the strength of his arm, and has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the might from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he has remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children for ever.” Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.
Why do we sing at Mass? Why do we open our blue hymnals at the beginning and proceed to make beautiful sounds with the organ and our voices? Does it feel silly for anyone? Why do we sing when we come here? Why did King David order singing when the Ark of the Covenant was brought into the temple? why did Mary break into song when she visited Elizabeth? Why did the Angles proclaim a heavenly chorus when they visited the shepherds? Why do we sing? Why does Mary sing?
I think it's similar to what you see when an athlete sings his or his national anthem when they stand on the winners' platform in the Olympics. I think it's similar to what we see when the Army/Navy game finishes, and the teams respectively sing their school anthems. I think it's similar to what we see with Redskins fans (yes, there are ARE redskins fans!), when they stand up and sing, Hail, to the redskins, Hail Victory. When we sing, we are joyful, we are happy, we are TRIUMPHANT, So, when we come to Mass, we are singing because of VICTORY, because we are now WITH our victorious king.
But is Mary JUST singing about her victorious king? Listen to her - "the Lord has looked with favor on His lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed." Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Are we putting Mary on a pedestal here? Has Mary become a little self-conceited? "All generations will call ME blessed" - - well, if you don't say so yourself! today we celebrate Mary's assumption, body and soul, into Heaven. Well, of course! Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!!! Obviously Mary DESERVES to get into Heaven, right? She obviously is full of grace, so today is appropriate for her.
But that doesn't make ME feel comfortable . . . it seems as if Mary is capable of something that *I* could never DREAM of . . . how does Mary's Assumption affect me? What does the Assumption mean for me? For US?
EVERYTHING. ALL generations DO call her blessed, BECAUSE the ALMIGHTY has done great things for her. Because HE has looked with favor. Because HE has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up, the LOWLY! The Lowly, just like Mary. For HE has come to the help of his children. HE has remembered His promise of mercy. Holy is HIS name. These are words of power, these are words of VICTORY - for Mary, yes! She's assumed body and soul into Heaven, but NOT Necessarily because of what SHE has done - rather, because of what GOD has done IN and THROUGH her, a LOWLY handmaid!!! People for ALL GENERATIONS will call a lowly handmaid, blessed. It is a message that not everyone accepts today - when Blessed John Paul II visited Latin America in the 80's, the military dictatorship censored his speech in one particular area, one piece of text which he was going to read - today's Gospel!!!
The humble heart will understand this truth. The lowly heart will want to SING to this news. With our body and soul, we SHOULD sing out every time we come to Mass, for it shows victory, even for the lowest, most suffering or burdened heart - WE get to partake in the victory. WE too can magnify the greatness of the Lord. WE get to experience triumph, just like Mary - why? Because, through all time, we continue to celebrate what our LORD has done for us. Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, said that when we make the Lord great in our lives, then we ourselves will become truly great. So let us imitate Mary's example, proudly singing out when we come to worship our Lord here at Mass. Indeed, all generations SHOULD call US blessed, for HE has blessed us with so much, HE has been so very good to us, and that's worth a joyful song. Mary, our Blessed Lady assumed into Heaven, pray for us, your children. Amen.