The hope of all Christians is that, by God’s mercy, we will enjoy eternal life with God; our whole selves, body and soul, will be taken up into heaven. The salvation that we are promised is the salvation of the whole person. Mary, the Mother of Jesus, has already received this blessing. At the end of Mary’s earthly life, God took her up into heavenly glory, body and soul. Today’s Feast of the Assumption celebrates that special gift.
In today’s Gospel reading, we find Mary as a very young woman, who has just conceived Jesus by God’s power. She celebrates the good news with her cousin Elizabeth, who has also received the miraculous gift of a child. In her hymn of praise, the Magnificat, Mary rejoices in what God has done for her, transforming her life. It will not be an easy road for Mary – a sword of sorrow will pierce her soul, when she sees her Son suffer and die. But she never ceases to trust in God.
In the life of Mary, we see how God’s plan of salvation unfolds. God works through the little ones. The Son of God comes into the world as a child of a poor family. The rich, the powerful and the proud are cast down; the poor and the lowly are raised up. By the power of God, Mary was kept free from original sin; throughout her life, she trusted completely in God; and, at the end of her life, God raised her up. As disciples of Christ, we are called to follow Mary’s example, trusting in God and rejoicing in what God has done for us. By the mercy of God, we too can hope to be raised up, body and soul, to eternal glory.