Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
(I Corinthians 15:20-27; Luke 1:39-56)
The biblical scholar Fr. Raymond E. Brown was concerned about ecumenical relations until his untimely death ten years ago. He used to reassure Protestants that what the Catholic Church claims about Mary is usually what is envisioned for all Christians. For example, the Church’s doctrine that Mary was assumed body and soul into heaven is essentially no different from the destiny of all the faithful at the end of time. The reading from First Corinthians hints at this. Christ was raised as the first fruits of God’s redemption. Catholics see the “proper order” that St. Paul alludes to here as having Mary, the mother of Christ, raised after him but before others.
The glorious destiny of our bodies gives added reason for us to treat them well. St. Paul in the same letter to the Corinthians presents the primary reason. Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and we are not to profane them by lewd conduct. Nor should we abuse them with excessive food and drink. While we’re at it, we might also say that respect for our bodies includes frequent exercise, sufficient rest, and a balanced diet.
Psychologists have noted how having overweight friends induces many people to pile on the pounds. Of course, the resolution of this problem is not cutting ties with fat people but modeling for them healthy eating habits. One more thing: since we tend to emulate our friends, we might make special friends with Mary. Just following her in today’s gospel is an inspiration. She quickly goes to visit her relative Elizabeth when she hears of the latter’s unexpected pregnancy. She praises God for all the good that happens to her. And she announces the good news of salvation. Could we imagine a better person to have as a friend?