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Sermon on the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Scripture has no mention of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary but tradition comes into play in  its long history. As early as fifth century, a huge occasion called “Memorial of Mary” was celebrated on August 15 in the Eastern Church. This was conditioned by the belief of the early Christians that Mary simply fell asleep, rested and woke up in heaven. In fact, the feast was popularly known as “Dormition”. Sometime in the 7th century, Rome adopted it and replaced “the falling asleep” with a new title, Assumption. As the years unfolded, it became the biggest Marian celebration in Europe. In 1950, Pope Pius XII infallibly defined the Assumption of the Blessed Mother, a Dogma of Faith. Said decree literally meant that at the end of Mary’s earthly life, her body and soul was taken up into the Glory of heaven. 

Those who hold the sole authority of Scriptures will have tremendous difficulty accepting this formal papal pronouncement because the sacred word says nothing about it. It can be very unsettling and even,  unimaginable. Yet, that’s exactly the point. There was a time when the bible didn’t know. After the Apostles, the church has been guided by the continuing presence of the Spirit through the leaders. It’s a clear indication that we just didn’t make things up nor stumble in the unknown but followed logic, custom and devotion.

Reverence to the Blessed Mother is a milestone and a striving evidence of Catholicism. It does demonstrate the significant place, special privilege and spectacular role of Mary in salvation history.  She is and will always be the ideal, the best example and the epitome of Christian discipleship because at a time of great uncertainty and deep trouble, she accepted the grace of God and remained open to it by humbly saying, “let it be done to me according to your word.” This attitude of receptivity and absolute trust in God, is the mark of every follower of Christ. Amen.

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A Filipino Catholic Priest, born and raised in Virac, Catanduanes, Philippines, ordained for the Diocese of Tucson, AZ, eleven years in ministry and counting, currently assigned as Pastor of St. Christopher Catholic Parish, Marana, AZ.

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