B Cycle – Feast of the Assumption 21
Over the years I have done 9 different homilies on this feast day and as I prayed for a new inspiration, it seemed that simplicity was not only the hall mark of Mary, and we can learn much from her simplicity.
What she was asked to do by God had to be frightening as she realized how others would view her, how Joseph would react and what the law said should be done to her. What the angel revealed to her was certainly beyond comprehension. In her own words she said, “how can this be.” It was not only impossible, but it was against the Levitical law, punishable by death. Yet we marvel at her yes but in her yes, there is a lesson we must learn. What we must learn and strive to attain is that same level of trust in God, because our instinct is to look at all the reasons why following his will goes against our instincts to be secure and safe.
We all to easily overlook how much courage that took because we believe from her conception, she was prepared for her role in salvation history. We believe she is the most holy of all women and men in salvation history. Believing those kinds of things about Mary are in one sense obstacles to our seeing how trust in God grows as we increasingly interact with God in prayer and in the scriptures. By us holding to those kinds of beliefs we overlook human nature and the free will which we all have, including Mary. The real question for us is how she came to have that much trust in God. Believing
Trust is the product of knowing something and acting on it. We trust the engineering of aircraft engineers and the pilots who fly planes every time we step abord a plane. We trust doctors as they anesthetize us and say they will see us when we awake. But do we trust God when he tells us to ask, and we will receive. Do we trust God when we are told by God, our sins are forgiven and forgotten because of the death and resurrection of Jesus? Do we believe we will have eternal life if we believe?
We do not know how Mary’s faith was formation allowing her to grow in trust and intimacy with God. It is too easy to pass that aspect of her trust in God was because she was prepared from her conception. But we can conclude Mary like King David was a person after God’s own heart because of she spent time with God in prayer and in the scriptures. She had to spend time beyond the demands of the law and dictates of her faith.
In her life and in ours there must come a time when a choice to grow in intimacy must be made and that decision was a human one by her and by us. It goes beyond her being chosen, for all of us are called and chosen. Even Jesus struggled in the garden knowing what God was asking him to do, yet he submitted to God’s will. Mary’s inner struggle is not revealed to us in the scriptures other than her knowing it was impossible. The angel’s response to her confusion telling her she will be overshadowed by the Holy Spirit certainly did not clear up the how she could give birth as a virgin.
Our struggles are not in that league. We struggle with simple changes made by a new pastor or some new program in our parishes. We resist and complain all while trying to remain in control of our spiritual lives. If Mary does not teach us anything by her yes, we are missing the real story of her being assumed into heaven.
It is by her yes that she was raised, and it is by our yes, we too will be raised. For Christ, just this past Sunday said to us, “if you believe you will have eternal life.” Well, believing means acting on our belief and trust is the foundation of our willingness to act on what we believe. Let us like Mary always say, let it be done to me according to your word.