My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,1
So today we celebrate today the glorious mystery of our Blessed Mother’s Assumption in the heaven.
First of all, as we gather to pray today, I think we are all aware that this is a sad and confusing time for the Church in our country. In recent weeks and days there have been revelations of sin and abuse in the Church.
So it is a time for prayer and repentance and a time for examining our conscience. Especially for us bishops and priests. We need to pray for every person who has been hurt by the Church and we need to work to help them heal. It is an urgent need for all of us in the Church so let us keep that in mind.
So in this Mass, let us ask the intercession of our Blessed Mother Mary, who is the Mother of the Church. May she help us to have the courage that we need to purify the Church and renew our love for holiness and our devotion to Jesus Christ and his Gospel.
And we turn to our Blessed Mother in confidence today on this beautiful feast in which we remember how she was “assumed” — taken up body and soul into heaven at the end of her earthly life.
Today, each of us should celebrate this glorious mystery with great joy. Because where the Virgin Mary has gone — we can go too!
In the first reading today, we heard those glorious words proclaimed in heaven:
Now have salvation and power come,
and the Kingdom of our God
and the authority of his Anointed One.
In Mary’s Assumption, we see that we are not born to die, but to live! We are born to be God’s beloved children. We are born to be raised to eternal life. Our God, as we know, is not the God of the dead, he is the God of the living!
And as you already know, for me this beautiful feast of the Assumption is very special. It has a special place in my heart because it is my anniversary of my own ordination to the priesthood, as Father David announced to you all — 40 years. It’s a long time, isn’t it? I’m getting old. Don’t tell anybody.
And I’m really touched and very grateful that you all could celebrate this moment with me.
To be a priest is, for me, my greatest joy. I thank God and I thank our Blessed Mother every day for the great privilege and the gift of my vocation.
So please pray for me and for my ministry. And let us pray for more and more vocations to the priesthood.
And please know that I am praying for each you — that all of you may know the joy of walking and living with Jesus.
I think deacon Michelangel, who was not bad for the first time as a deacon here at the Cathedral. He was ordained as a deacon this past Saturday, as some of you already know. So pray for him! He’s started this beautiful call to be a priest — first as a transitional deacon and hopefully, with the grace of God, for sure this coming year a priest.
So it is a day of great joy for all of us and it is especially for me as I celebrate my anniversary. And I pray that all of us, in our lives, will reflect on the tender love that Jesus had for his mother.
Jesus wants all of us to feel the love that his Mother has for each one of us. And he wants each one of us to love Mary, just as he loved Mary. And he also wants us to know that Mary our Blessed Mother loves each one of you as one of her own children. Just as she loved the Child Jesus.
So today, let us as our Mother Mary to teach us to live like she lived, to have that same heart to love Jesus and to share Jesus with others.
In our Gospel today we hear the great story of the Visitation, how Mary is with child and she carries the child Jesus in her womb to visit Elizabeth. Because she wants to share the joy of Jesus!
In this story we see how Mary had a “missionary heart.” And we are called to live with this same heart, with the same desire that Mary had — to share the joy of Jesus Christ with our brothers and sisters.
And as we heard Mary sings her great song of the “Magnificat” — “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”
That’s the way we want to live. Like Mary, we need to proclaim the greatness of God and the joy that comes from knowing his love in our own lives. We need to do that in everything we do. In our homes, at work, in society, in our churches. Everywhere!
We need to be excited about our lives and our mission in the world. Because it is an amazing thing, especially just reflecting on it — God loves us so much that he calls us to be his children! And he calls us to be missionaries, to be apostles — to spread his love all over the world, beginning in our own lives.
This is a beautiful reality of our Christian vocation, my dear brothers and sisters. So today, let us renew again our desire to live the way God created us to live. And we know, that’s the way we are going to find joy and happiness, truth and love.
So let us ask our Blessed Mother to intercede for us — to be our mother and to never leave us. For me, it’s especially beautiful because my ordination to the priesthood was on this feast day the Assumption and my ordination to become a bishop was on the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Mother. So I think I’m in good hands, don’t you think?
So we ask Mary our Blessed Mother to teach all of us to listen to the word of God. To help us to love God and to seek his will with a generous heart. And we ask her to pray for us that we may share, one day, in the joy of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and live forever in heaven with Jesus.
1. Readings: Rev. 11-19a; 12-1-6a, 10ab; Ps. 45:10-12,16; 1 Cor. 15:20-27; Luke 1:39-56