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Homily – Assumption 2010: There’s Something About Mary…

August 23, 2010

Audio of the Gospel reading is here.  Audio of the below homily is here.

With absolutely NO reference to the film by the same title, I must say, “There’s something about Mary”.  There’s something about Mary, the Mother of Jesus, which makes some people just crazy.  There’s something about Mary, Mother of the Church, which embarrasses some people.  There’s something about Mary, Holy Mary, Mother of God, which causes many Catholics to run away from any association with her.  Some of our separated brethren mock us about Mary.  Some of them think we aren’t Christian because of Mary.  And some of them just flat won’t talk about Mary.

But as I said…There’s something about Mary.  There’s something about her that should educate us.  There’s something about her that should encourage us.  And there is something about Mary that should drive us to strive to be like her.  And it is these things that our Feast today, the feast of the Assumption of Mary, celebrates.

So…what is it about Mary?

On November 1, 1950, Pope Pius XII defined the dogma of Mary’s Assumption:  “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.”  Simple.  When it came time for Mary to die, she went to heaven, body and soul.  The Pope didn’t say she died, though most seem to think she did.  He said that she was “assumed”, meaning she was “drawn up”, into heaven, and that both her body and her soul were glorified.

This dogma should give us hope, not embarrass us.  As I said, there’s something about Mary.  One thing “about Mary” is that she was conceived without the stain of Original Sin. This made her into the perfect vessel that she would have to be in order for God to come to Earth through her. 

So, what do the Scriptures have to say about all of this?  Today’s readings help us to understand, even if they don’t paint the entire picture.

The first reading, from the Book of Revelation, is all about Mary.  The very first lines connect the Ark of the Covenant, God’s presence among the People of Israel until they lost it, with the Ark of the New covenant, Mary.  The Old Testament Ark contained the word of God, and reminders of His presence with His people.  The New Testament Ark, Mary, also contained the Word of God:  The Word Made Flesh, who came to dwell among us!  There’s something…about Mary!

The Gospel today teaches us why we refer to Mary as we do.  What’s the Marian Prayer that everyone knows, the one that comes to mind first? The Hail Mary! And where did it come from?  The Scriptures!  “Hail, Mary, Full of Grace, the Lord is with you” is the greeting that the angel Gabriel used in Luke 1, verse 28.  The next part?  That comes from the Gospel!  Elizabeth says, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb”.  Second part of the prayer!  The rest is just a petition from us to her, to pray for us; we ask her to do this because we know (from the Scriptures) the Jesus listens to her in a special way.  Because…There’s something…about Mary!


So why do they beat on us so about her, our separated brethren?  Sadly, brothers and sisters, it’s out of ignorance, out of a lack of understanding, rooted in a little prejudice, about what we really believe.  And the situation isn’t helped by our attitude toward Mary.

Mary is our Mother.  But how often do we check in with her?  She’s not God.  But she is in Heaven with God.  She is the Mother of the Church.  She is our model, our exemplar, our guide to living the Perfect Christian Life.  Mary was assumed into Heaven precisely to show us what’s in store for us at the end of time; she just received the Promise first, as a reward for her faithfulness, and out of recognition of her unique status.  She was conceived without sin. She gave her fiat, her “Yes” to God when asked to be the mother of His Son. 

And she did this in spite of what it would mean!  Mary was an unwed mother at a time when adultery and fornication got you killed.  She said Yes to God at a time when a pregnancy out-of-wedlock would disgrace generations of a family.  She submitted herself to God’s will…And she received God’s reward.  And at the end of the day…isn’t that exactly what we are all called to do, to submit our will…to God’s will?


There’s something about Mary, brothers and sisters.  Actually, there’s a ton of stuff about Mary.  And so many of our separated brethren just don’t know.

Maybe it’s time we found out.  Maybe it’s time Mary, the Mother of God, the Mother of our Lord, and our Mother, becomes more than an embarrassment, more than a subject that makes us run away.

“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.” That’s what the feast we celebrate today is all about. 

But do we embrace it? Do we believe it?

Those are important questions. Because if we don’t accept this dogma of our faith, what does it say about what we believe about everything else the Church teaches, believes, and proclaims to be true?

Mary was assumed into Heaven, body and soul.  Her earthly body was glorified, just as we hope ours will be at the end of time.

There’s something about Mary…something that made God take her to Himself at the end of her life.  Shouldn’t we find out what it is?

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