Homily: SERRA - Changeover of Officer Bearers

SERRA - Changeover of Officer Bearers
St John of God Hospital
Feast of the Assumption

Rev 11:19, 12:1-10; Ps 45:10-16; 1 Cor 15:20-27; Luke 1:39-56

The Feast of the Assumption is a day of joy. Love has shown that it is stronger than death, that God possesses the true strength and that his strength is goodness and love.

Mary was taken up body and soul into Heaven: Heaven is no longer a very remote sphere unknown to us. We have a mother in Heaven. And the Mother of God, the Mother of the Son of God, is our Mother. He himself has said so. He made her our Mother when he said to the disciple and to all of us: "Behold, your Mother!“ We have a Mother in Heaven.

In the Gospel we heard the Magnificat, that great poem inspired by the Holy Spirit that came from Mary's lips, indeed, from Mary's heart. This marvellous canticle mirrors the entire soul, the entire personality of Mary. We can say that this hymn of hers is a portrait of Mary, a true icon in which we can see her exactly as she is.

Let us look at the word "Magnificat": my soul "magnifies" the Lord, that is, "proclaims the greatness" of the Lord. Mary wanted God to be great in the world, great in her life and present among us all.

The scriptural passages of today’s Mass give us tremendous hope as we contemplate our final destination; for a member of the human family has charted a way for all of us. Our Lady, in her Assumption, has this glorious privilege which encourages us on our earthly pilgrimage.

In union with the whole Church, we celebrate the Assumption of Our Lady, body and soul, into the glory of heaven. Mary’s Assumption shows us our own destiny as God’s adoptive children and members of the body of Christ. Like Mary our Mother, we are called to share fully in the Lord’s victory over sin and death, and to reign with him in his eternal Kingdom.

The “great sign” presented in today’s first reading – a woman clothed in the sun and crowned by stars (cf. Rev 12:1) – invites us to contemplate Mary enthroned in glory beside her divine Son. It also invites us to acknowledge the future which even now the Risen Lord is opening before us.

In today’s second reading, we heard Saint Paul tell us that Christ is the new Adam, whose obedience to the Father’s will has overturned the reign of sin and bondage and inaugurated the reign of life and freedom (cf. 1 Cor 15:24-25). True freedom is found in our loving embrace of the Father’s will. From Mary, full of grace, we learn that Christian freedom is more than liberation from sin. It is freedom for a new, spiritual way of seeing earthly realities. It is the freedom to love God and our brothers and sisters with a pure heart, and to live a life of joyful hope for the coming of Christ’s Kingdom.

Today, we also turn to her as Mother of our Church. We ask her to help us to be faithful to the royal freedom we received on the day of our Baptism, to guide our efforts to transform the world in accordance with God’s plan, and to enable the Church in this country to assist more people to take up the invitation of Christ and to respond to the call of a religious vocation.

May our Catholic people be a generous force for spiritual renewal at every level of society. May they combat the allure of a materialism that stifles authentic spiritual and cultural values and the spirit of unbridled competition which generates selfishness and strife.

As Australian Catholics, heirs to a noble tradition, and as Serrans, you are called to cherish this legacy and transmit it to future generations. This will demand of everyone a renewed conversion to the word of God and a passionate concern for the poor, the needy and the vulnerable in our midst. We need more priests; we need more religious; we need to pray more for vocations!

In celebrating this feast, we join the Church throughout the world in looking to Mary as our Mother of Hope. Her song of praise reminds us that God never forgets his promise of mercy (cf. Lk 1:54-55). Mary is the one who is blessed because “she believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord” (Lk 1:45). In her, all God’s promises have been proved trustworthy.

This hope, my friends, is the hope held out by the Gospel. May our young who surround us in these days with their joy and confidence, never be robbed of their hope.

Let us turn to Our Lady and implore the grace to rejoice in the freedom of the children of God, to use that freedom wisely in the service of our brothers and sisters, and to live and work as signs of the hope which will find its fulfillment in that eternal Kingdom where to reign is to serve. Amen.