Wednesday, AUGUST 15, 2012

Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

(Revelation 11:19a.12:1-6a.10ab; I Corinthians 15:20-27; Luke 1:39-56)

Fr. Raymond E. Brown, a biblical scholar, was very concerned about ecumenical relations. He often reassured Protestants worrying that the Catholic Church was making outlandish claims about Mary. He proposed that the Church, at least in the cases of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption, declared about Mary what it claims for all Christians albeit in a privileged way. For example, the Church’s doctrine that Mary was assumed body and soul into heaven is essentially no different from what all faithful Christians will experience at the end of time. The reading from First Corinthians hints at this. Christ was raised as the first fruits of God’s redemption. The “proper order” that St. Paul mentions would have Mary, the mother of Christ, being raised after him but before other women and men.

Our bodies’ destiny of glory gives added reason for us to treat them well. St. Paul in the same letter to the Corinthians presents the primary reason. They are temples of the Holy Spirit that must not be profaned by lewd conduct. We should supplement his concern for proper regard for the body with avoidance of excessive food and drink. While we are at it, we should also say that our bodies require exercise, rest, and a balanced diet.

A few years ago a report was made telling of how people use their overweight friends as permission for them to pile on the pounds. Of course, the resolution of this problem is not to cut ties with fat people but to model for others healthy eating habits. One more thing, if we want to emulate our friends, we might make friends with the saints, especially Mary. In today’s gospel she visits her relative Elizabeth with all dispatch when she hears of her unexpected pregnancy. She also praises God for all the good that happens to her. Finally, she announces the good news of salvation. Could anyone imagine a better person to have as a friend?