Pastor’s Corner for the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Year A, by Fr. Nobert Munekani SJ

The Assumption of Mary is the teaching that: The Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory [Pius XII, Munificentissimus Deus 44]. A simpler way of understanding this feast would be to understand the concept of Heaven and hell. Usually, we would think of Heaven as being a place up in the sky and hell as the underworld. However, Heaven is simply a state of being, where God is present, and hell is a state of being where God is absent.

Today, Catholics and many other Christians celebrate the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This significant feast day recalls the spiritual and physical departure of the mother of Jesus Christ from the earth, when both her soul and her body were taken into the presence of God. Although the bodily assumption of Mary is not explicitly recorded in Scripture, Catholic tradition identifies her with the “woman clothed with the sun” who is described in the 12th chapter of the Book of Revelation.

The passage calls that woman’s appearance “a great sign” which “appeared in heaven,” indicating that she is the mother of the Jewish Messiah and has “the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” Accordingly, Catholic iconography of the Western tradition often depicts the Virgin Mary’s assumption into heaven in this manner.

Eastern Christians have also traditionally held Mary’s assumption into heaven as an essential component of their faith. Pope Pius XII cited several early Byzantine liturgical texts, as well as the eighth-century Arab Christian theologian St. John of Damascus, in his own authoritative definition of her assumption. “It was fitting,” St. John of Damascus wrote in a sermon on the assumption, “that she, who had kept her virginity intact in childbirth, should keep her own body free from all corruption even after death,” and “that she, who had carried the creator as a child at her breast, should dwell in the divine tabernacles.”

The fact that Mary has already been assumed into heaven is a reason to celebrate, to rejoice, to hope in the “already and the not yet”. One of God’s creatures – Mary – is already in heaven. With her, and like her, we too, who are God’s creatures, will one day be there too. Mary’s destiny, united to the transfigured and glorious body of Jesus, is, therefore, the destiny of all those who are united to the Lord Jesus in faith and love.

The feast of the Assumption is always a Holy Day of Obligation for both Roman and Eastern-rite Catholics, on which they are obliged to attend Mass or Divine Liturgy.

For the sick

Let us continue to pray for the sick members of our parish especially Benedicta Ngwebelele, Magola Legoale, Phoebe Ngwenya and Andrew Ledwaba.  

Rev. Fr. Nobert Munekani SJ

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