Friday, August 12, 2011

The Assumption of Our Lady: Homily / Sermon

Blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled. (Luke 1:45)

Have you ever wondered how you’ll be remembered when you’ve gone? Nowadays it is very common for the priest to speak in some detail at the funeral about the person who has died, and sometimes family members even give a little talk themselves.

But it’s not a good thing to always expect this. For one thing there is a tendency to praise the person who has died, when what we should be doing is praying for him or her. Also it is not always  easy to find something to say. There is even a gender divide: when it is a man you can say where they worked, talk about the hobbies they followed, the clubs they attended and so on. Often for a woman - especially those of a certain age - it is difficult: perhaps she didn’t work and didn’t have any hobbies and rarely went out. No great achievements, apparently : ‘She was just our Mum’.

And people often notice this about Our Lady. Scripture tells us very little about her. Mark’s Gospel tells us little more than her name. St Luke’s Gospel - which we hear today - tells us the most. She is mentioned rarely during Jesus’ ministry; at the foot of the cross she stands with the disciple John; and on the day of Pentecost, she is at prayer with the disciples. Many of the other details which have come down to us about Our Lady - that her parents were called Joachim and Anne, that her last home on earth was with St John in Ephesus, have been handed down through tradition, not scripture.

On the face of it then, Mary did little and achieved little. No real great claim to fame here, perhaps. Few accomplishment. Little to make a fuss about.

But of course we do not need long stories, many details. She is the one who is blessed because she believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled. She is full of God’s grace. She is our Mother in the Faith.

Her honour comes not so much from what she did - because what she did was so very simple - but from who she is. She lived her calling to full and at the end of her life was gathered up by her Son to share the fullness of his life.

Why do we give her such great honour? Because ‘She is just our Mum’.


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