Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
August 15, 2014 – Year A
Readings: Rv 11:19a, 12:1-6a, 10ab; Psalm 45; 1 Cor 15:20-27; Lk 1:39-56
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
As we celebrate today the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we remember that glorious day when the Blessed Mother was taken up, body and soul, into heaven. Our faith tells us there are only two physical bodies in heaven: our Lord Jesus himself, who ascended into heaven, and the Blessed Mother, who was assumed into heaven.
Why is this so important to us?
When a member of our family is being honored for a certain achievement, all the members of our family are happy and feel honored. The Blessed Mother happens to be OUR mother. She was given the highest honor that our Lord and Savior and our God could give to a human person and to each and every one of us, her children.
More than 40 years ago, I was in Scouting in one of the 7,107 islands in the Philippine Archipelago. I have not even been in half of those islands. I am only familiar with our own island where I grew up, but Boy Scouts like to go to other islands and uncharted territories. We went to a campground on a small island, and they had a cave. They called it a cave, but I would call it a tunnel. You had to be small enough to crawl. When you went in, there was no way of going back. There was only one direction. We had a guide, an expert who had been doing this for many years, who said, “You will all be safe. Just follow me.” We crawled for about 5 minutes and I could not see the end of the tunnel. The guide said, “Don’t worry. We are almost there.”
Almost there? It was all darkness. He didn’t even have a flashlight. But as soon as he said we were almost there, I was able to see the light quite far ahead at the end of the tunnel. The light gave me hope and gave me strength. I had felt like I was going to pass out, but at the point when I saw the light, I believed everything would be fine. We knew where we were going.
The Blessed Mother was given to us by our Holy Mother Church, by our Lord Jesus himself, as the light at the end of this earth’s tunnel. We have lots of trials, tribulations, problems, ailments… and we are in darkness. Sometimes we crawl because we are too weak to get up. But as St. Paul said: Everything will happen for the good of those who love God.
Our Blessed Mother is already there in the place where we are all going. St. Paul said, “We are not permanent residents in this world. We are citizens of heaven.” Talking about citizenship of heaven might be too much for young children to understand, but for those of us who are old enough to understand life as we know it, we are grateful that there is such a reality as heaven. We are really grateful because we know that after our journey here on earth, there is a life that is waiting for us – a life where we will be able to experience joy in all its fullness, and peace.
But human as we are, once in a while we forget. Several years ago I had the privilege to meet Father Steven Scheier. In 1985, he was in an accident and was in a coma, almost dead. He had only a 15% chance of survival. During that near-death experience, he was able to hear God’s voice. The voice gave him a summary of his life. After all the details had been recounted to him, the judgment was Hell. He could only say, “Well yes, I deserve that.” But suddenly there was a woman who talked to God, and said, “Why don’t you give him a chance?” And God called her, “Mother.” And God’s mother said, “He might be your instrument in proclaiming your word. He might change his ways.” God said, “He had all his chances and he didn’t take it.” God’s mother said, “This is what you should do. I believe he could be your instrument.” And at the end of the conversation, God said, “Mother, he’s yours.”
From that time on, while he was able to recover, he gave witness to his experience. He was only able to rediscover his faith, his priesthood, because of the Blessed Mother. He said, “Now I know that God can do everything, for nothing is impossible with God. But there are two things God cannot do. First, he cannot remember our sins that he has forgiven. That’s his option. And second, he cannot say “no” to his mother.”
For those of us who have a devotion to the Blessed Mother, we can say that this is true. If we are in the company of the Blessed Mother, we are in good company. She is our spiritual GPS in this world who will lead us safely home.