Thursday, August 15, 2019

Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

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

Fr. Raymond E. Brown was one of the preeminent biblical exegetes of the latter twentieth century.  Protestants scholars recognized his expertise.  The pope named him to the Pontifical Biblical Commission.  Fr. Brown strove for Christian unity.  He told Protestants that they should not worry too much about Marian claims made by Catholic popes.  He said that they may be traced to different references in Scripture.

Today’s feast points to such claims and references.  There is no direct statement about Mary in Scripture after her being in the company of the Apostles at the Pentecost event.  No report is given of her passing, much less of her assumption into heaven.  But there is indirect testimony.  The first reading refers to her being prepared a place by God.  The second reading speaks of the resurrection of all the dead of whom - it is not inconceivable - Mary takes precedence. The gospel reading shows why.  Mary is the first to proclaim the Good News of God doing great new things in the world. 

Protestants are still wary of speaking much about Mary.  We should be aware of that but, nevertheless, not reluctant to invite them to our devotion.  Mary is, after all, a model disciple as well as a preacher of the Gospel.  As his mother, she is also close to Jesus.  Finally, she has a distinctively woman’s sensitivity to others’ needs.  Much like people ask us to pray for their needs, we can solicit Mary’s intercession.  In this way, may she serve as a source of unity and never again of division.