15 August 2014
Homily of the Apostolic Nuncio
His Grace Archbishop Petar Rajič
The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven is the greatest Marian feast in the liturgical year, yet it is a recent dogma of the Church, officially proclaimed by Pope Pius XII in 1950. Church Tradition however, has always held that Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed or taken up to heaven, both in body and soul.
Mary was considered blessed amongst all women because she was chosen by God to become the instrument for the arrival of his Son Jesus Christ into the world. Though Mary was proclaimed blessed three times, there was a real paradox in this blessedness, for later on in the life of her Son Jesus, a sword was to pierce her heart. This meant that she would one day see her Son hanging on a cross and that she would share in his sufferings. God does not choose a person for ease and comfort or selfish joy, but for a task, in order to utilize him or her for a purpose and to unite him or her to himself.
A modern preacher once said: “Jesus Christ came not to make life easy but to make men great!” Blessedness has its price. It takes away our pride, selfish desires, it might mean giving up many things, even one’s life, but the rewards in the end are truly great and everlasting. Mary’s life and her assumption to heaven give testimony to this fact. Our own lives and our future passage to heaven will depend on how much love we have in our hearts that enables us to rise above our self-centeredness in order to reach out to others and become a blessing from heaven for them.
Mary’s example of faithfulness to God therefore, provides us with a true challenge of faith, which is to seek and fulfill God’s will in our lives, thereby achieving blessedness. By accepting the crosses of our lives and seeking to serve God in good times and bad, we live in the hope of a better world and an eternity of glory united with the Lord, his and our Mother Mary and all of God’s chosen ones.