Browsing Pastor's Corner

Assuming our Beauty

Aug 15, 2018

Assuming our Beauty

“God’s Temple in Heaven was opened, and the ark of the covenant could be seen in the Temple.”

As impressive as the Jerusalem Temple was in its hey-day of Jewish worship…and as impressive as any House of Worship may be, this Christian Temple we gather in today included…there is no greater, more impressive, more beautiful and preferred dwelling place of God than our own bodies.

“19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”  And the celebration of the Assumption reminds us: there is no greater, more holy and sacred Temple than the Body of the Blessed Virgin Mary. 

As Saint Elizabeth rejoiced when seeing her God-bearing Cousin: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me.”

And how does this happen to us? By virtue of this Mass, rather than a greeting heard with the ears…we receive the fullness of Jesus Christ from Mary…from her womb…from her body….the Holy Eucharist…to receive and consume that He might find in us as with Mary His Mother…a worthy and most comfortable dwelling place.

And the price that is paid for this privilege is the same price paid for us as was paid for Mary enabling her the privilege of the Immaculate Conception and honor of being the Mother of God. As we hear Mary sing: “My Spirit rejoices in God my Savior…”

We also hear from the Psalmist: “The Queen stands at your right hand.” Perhaps this is a vision of Mary at the Foot of the Cross where to His right, Christ looks down from the Cross and Mary looks up. And with the plaque above His head reading:  “Jesus Christ King of the Jews”, from His throne of the Cross says to her: “Woman, behold your Son.”  Rather than bequeathing to Mary a Kingdom of countless miles of land, Christ gives to her something more valuable…us, as her children who are co-heirs with Him to the Kingdom of Heaven.

Mary then is the true Ark of the Covenant. A Covenant is an exchange of persons: I am yours and you are mine.   The original Ark was the vessel of God’s word written on stone…Mary is that more perfect Vessel of God’s love where in her womb the Word of God became flesh and now dwells among us…body, blood, soul and divinity.

From the body of Mary now assumed into Heaven, we receive the Risen and Glorified Body of Jesus Christ. We know that the body needs nourishment to survive and remain healthy.  The Body is sacred, so sacred in fact that God Himself chose to have a human body in which to experience all things we do: seeing, tasting, touching, smelling, hearing, eating, loving, laughing, crying etc. 

We are no more meant to be separated from our bodies as any of our limbs are meant to be dis-attached from our bodies. Unfortunately, because of sin and its consequences of dying and death we experience the terrible and painful rupture:

“But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the spirit is alive because of righteousness.h 11If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through his Spirit that dwells in you… We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now;q 23and not only that, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, we also groan within ourselves as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.

Labor Pains: Transformation is occurring…the pains of old age, illness, all and any aches and pains…our faith reminds us are not pains of decay and destruction; rather it is a process of renewal we call our redemption…our rejoicing in God our Savior…who will save us…every micro-inch of us from the grave…reaching His hand through the ground and pulling us up and out of that darkness of death into the light of a new and everlasting day.

“So shall the King desire your beauty”, the beauty of being created in the image of God and re-created in the image of the God-Man whose suffering and death on the cross ensures our healing and everlasting life in Heaven…or as the Psalmist says elsewhere surely applicable to this day’s celebration of Mary into Heaven…but no less said and prophesied of us some day:

“Therefore my heart is glad and my spirit rejoices; My flesh also will dwell securely. 10For You will not abandon my soul to death; Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay. 11You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.”

The Assumption of Mary reminds us how truly beautiful we are…inside and out…body and soul…and with this awareness of how sacred such beauty is…created as we are in this image of God who in Christ is also Man, will we not show more reverence for God…more respect for His creation…more gratitude for His gift of life…by loving and respecting each other more and more especially by way of our bodies; which we will have with us fully intact and glorified in Heaven…with the Risen Christ and Assumed Blessed Virgin Mary.

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