THE ASSUMPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
Echoes of Redemption, Songs of Freedom
Mary’s Magnificat shares a common literary genre with the Creed of the children of Israel (Deut.26:3.5-10), the Benedictus (Lk.1:67-79), the Nunc Dimittis, the Song of Simeon (Lk.2:29-32) as well as Paul’s hymn of salvation history (Eph.1:3-14). In the light of God’s personal revelation, each respective author summarized salvation history in ways, which demonstrates the fidelity of God to his promise. None of the authors is bragging about his or her personal victory or self-importance. Instead, each one is gloating over the unique privilege he or she had to witness with his or her own eyes the splendour of God coming to fulfilment through their assistance. Yes! The Creed of the Israelites, the Magnificat, the Benedictus, the Nunc Dimittis, and Paul’s hymn are echoes of redemption and songs of freedom. They are lyrics of the saints in the making and the glorious Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. All prefiguring our ascent into heaven at the appointed time, if like them, we are faithful to the Lord until death.
For Mary, Zechariah and Simeon these were exhilarating moments and experiences. In Mary’s case an epiphany, with her consent was taking place within her own body. God was making her the first human tabernacle. While Zechariah himself played an integral part in this aspect of divine revelation –the birth of John the Baptist. Simeon, for his part, was privileged to dedicate the Christ to God and to see the saviour of the world with own eyes. Paul for his part was blinded by the radiant light of God’s mercy and was privileged like Moses and Abraham to converse with the Lord, person to person (Acts.9:3-6) In a sense, Mary, Zechariah, Simeon, and Paul were the genesis of the new Israel of God. While the Israelites were the first fruits of the Promised Land, Mary, Zechariah, Simeon, and Paul were privileged to be the rich soil to receive the seed, the trusted stewards who prepared the land and reaped the bountiful harvest (Matt.13:18-23). They were also the priests to offer up the first fruit of the new Israel of God (1Cor.15:23).
These experiences were truly aha moments for Mary, Zechariah, and Simeon and Paul. Each one, in turn, had flashbacks of his/her inadequacies and simultaneously recalled the munificence of God. God in sheer humility collaborated with mere mortals to bring the promise made to Abraham to fulfilment. What is the connection between the above-mentioned events and “The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary”?
The theatrics of all the theophanies of the Lord are captivating. Like the Transfiguration Christ (Matt.17:1-13), the participants wished it would never end. However, theophanies are means to an end. Whenever God reveals himself to men and women, he always commissions them for a particular role in shaping the economy of salvation and offers them an eternal reward in the kingdom of heaven. Mary’s Assumption into heaven prefigures the passing, of our body and soul, into glory into heaven. Remember the words of Jesus: Everyone who does the will of my Father is my brother, my sister and my mother (Matt.12:50).
Mary’s Assumption, I repeat, like that of Enoch (Gen.5:24; Heb.11:5) and Elijah (2Kgs.2:1-12) give us the assurance that those who walk with God they have a place reserved for them in the kingdom of heaven. Thus, Mary’s Assumption prefigures the truth of Jesus’s discourse on the Eucharist (Jn.6:35-51). If we consume, if we live on his flesh and blood, if our bodies are living human tabernacles like Mary’s, our destination is in heaven.
Mary, Queen assumed into heaven, pray for us that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ and be honoured to be with you in heaven.