An apologetic homily about the assumption


#1

Hi all,

Today I had the honor to preach at my parish on the feast of the assumption, I decided to post my homily since it has a strong apologetic flavor to it. I hope you enjoy it. The only thing is... It is a homily so it does not read as an easy...It was written to be spoken out loud so you might found the stile a bit weird.

Enjoy :smiley:

Today we are celebrating the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Mother. To be more specific, we are celebrating that (To paraphrase Pope Pius XXII) “When the course of her earthly life was finished, Mary the Mother of Jesus, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, to be exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she will be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death”
The Church has defined 4 Marian dogmas as infallible truths: Mary the Mother of God, Mary born without sin (What we call the Immaculate Conception), Mary’s perpetual virginity even after the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of course what we are celebrating today, her bodily assumption into heaven. Like I said before these are Dogmas of faith which means that as Catholics we must believe them and when I say MUST I mean that “if we do not profess this belief we should not call ourselves Catholic”.
Now I know what you are thinking, nobody likes to be told what they should or should not believe, especially in religious matters. It would help if we could just pick up the bible and look for a passage that describes Mary going into heaven like the stories of the prophet Elisha or Her Son, our Lord Jesus. But as you might know there is no place in the bible in which we can find this.
This is why Marian dogmas are one of the biggest stumbling blocks for non-Catholics to accept the Church as the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic church. Because when they turn to their bibles they can’t find a specific place in which these events are described clearly.
So today, since we are celebrating the assumption, what I’m going to do is show you the one passage which proves that, by the divine power of her Son the blessed mother was taken into heaven body and soul. A passage that in fact proofs that our lady, is, right now, as we speak, been honored as Queen of the heavens and earth, clothed with the brightness of the sun, with the moon under her feet, and a crown of stars over Her head, with myriads of angels exalting her as the most pure expression of arc of the covenant, and with choirs of saints repeating “blessed are thou among woman and blessed is the fruit of thy womb”. Ok get your bibles out (Ups I’m sorry… For a second I thought I was in protestant Church …) Not to worry I brought my own… Now pay attention because this is a very important passage for Christians: Exodus 20:12: “Honor your father and your mother”
You might be thinking, “wait a second; that is the fourth commandment!” And you are right! You see the church teaches that the blessed mother was brought to heaven by her son to be honored, not because we want to place Mary at the same level as God, but because the church has always taught that Jesus is 100% human.
Paul explains it in simple terms when he says that “Jesus was like us except in sin”. If you turn to Gospels you see that everything Jesus did, throughout His life, was to bring honor and glory to His father. Right? Well?..What about His mother? If Jesus was true man, and he followed the 10 commandments how can he honor his father with all of his human and divine abilities but not His mother?
Think about it this way, which parent here have never been told by a child, “When I grow up I’m going to buy you a big house, a big car, I’m going to take you for a trip around the world, I’m going to give you anything you want!”
Or let me give you another example: I ask those of you here whose parents have passed away…If it were in your power wouldn’t you want to see them again and talk to them and let them share in your lives?
My brothers and sisters, if we say that we believe Jesus is true man; what we are saying is that he had the same feelings towards His mother as we have towards ours. The only difference is that Jesus has the power to do those things we can only wish we could do! To think that after he went to heaven He somehow forgot about the woman that gave him life is to think that He is beyond the normal feelings of a any human being.
So, you see, when the church says that we must believe in this dogma, it is not because we are trying to make Mary similar to God but because The Church is trying to make us understand what we mean when we say that Jesus is true man and true God. There is no other way, to believe that Jesus can love His mother any less than how much we can love our own mothers is to believe that Jesus is less man than us! And that my brothers and sister is a repugnant blasphemy! A blasphemy we should all reject!
So, in this feast of the assumption of the blessed mother, what we are truly celebrating is the humanity of Jesus and not (like some people erroneously think) the divinity of Mary. We celebrate the fact that Jesus is a good son… we celebrate the fact that he is a much better son than we can ever be… The fact that He is the best son ever.
In a few seconds, we will profess our faith, when we say that “We believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, eternally begotten of the father God from God light from light true God from true God, begotten not made, one in being with the father” and that this same Lord Jesus Christ “ came down from heaven and by the power of the Holy Spirit was born of the Virgin Mary and BECAME MAN” We profess the fact at this very moment in heaven Mary’s boy is trying with all of His power to honor her and show her how much he loves Her. How can we say this? We do not need to read it in the bible… We just need to look at ourselves and realize that if we had the power that Jesus has, we would be doing the same thing.

In His love
Deacon Harbey Santiago


#2

Dear Deacon,

Your homily is very beautiful and I appreciate it’s humanity in drawing for those thoughts and feelings, and facts that we know form our own experiences. You combined this with Scripture, and came up with a homily I’d have been glad to listen to. I’ve copied your post to my document, if that is okay with you, and perhaps we can link it to anyone’s future question regarding Mary’s Assumption, and her place in our lives and the Church.

Thank you for sharing your insights.

God bless you always, Trishie


#3

Thank you for the inciteful posting. I hope you get to preach a lot at your Masses. For those who have difficulty preaching on such a topic this can be a wonderful guide. It can even be used for material in RCIA.
Thanks again.

mdcpensive1


#4

Nice Job Deacon!!! Giod Bless you!!:thumbsup:


#5

Hi Trishie

Thanks for your kind words, you are welcome to use and distribute these words as you please. If you would like to read some of my other homilies I invite you to to my blog (deaconharbey.blogspot.com) where I post them. I only ask you to keep me in your prayers so the Lord keeps using me as a herald of His gospel.

In His love

Deacon Harbey


#6

Thank you for posting this for us, Deacon. Would that such homilies were heard in all our parishes! God bless you for you faithfulness.


#7

Hi mdcpensive1,

 Thanks for the kind words. RCIA is one of my ministries at St Mike's so I do a lot of apologetics there, we also have a large contingent of mixed marriages in our congregation so I always try to add an apologetic flavor to my homilies. 

In His love

Deacon Harbey


#8

Good sermon. It’s time that The Catholic Church starts highlighting just how Catholic the Bible is and starts gently pushing back against the bible-thumper non-Catholics who want to project the falsehood that The Catholic Church is non-biblical when it is they themselves who are the same as they accuse. So we have to start chipping away at these blatant lies and misconceptions that unscrupulous people will spread to get the uninitiated or poorly catechized Catholics to abandon the True Faith and listen to their fractional truths and doctrinal absurdities.

I would recommend that for next year’s sermon you amend these lines and the lead in into it: “And that my brothers and sister is a repugnant blasphemy! A blasphemy we should all reject!”

The sermon was gentle and comforting in tone, rising and falling with normal emotion, then suddenly rose up abruptly here in anger here with these 2 sentences. I don’t think anyone is sleeping through this sermon and is not in need of being woken up with this tonal shift in emotion. I’d recommend softening it up some - at least remove the exclamations and say it as whisper to get the same effect in a more passive way through hushed contrast.

I’d also de-emphasize the requirement for dogmatic belief in the ascension and appeal to the reasonableness of the dogma by asking a question. Maybe something like :

You see, the reason why the church feels so strongly about Mary’s ascension and makes it such an important dogmatic belief that all conscionable Catholics will ascend to out of reason and common spiritual belief is because The Church wants to honor Mary in a special way. The Church integrates this Marian belief irretractible into The Body Christ, (that is you and me brother and sisters), in the very same way Mary permanently integrated Jesus into her life and herself when she said “let it be done to me according to your will”. It would be unthinkable to imagine Jesus seperate from His Church and therefor as much the case to imagine Jesus seperate from Mary. No, impossible - where Jesus is so is Mary. There is no other way, to believe that Jesus can love His mother any less than how much we can love our own mothers; that would be to believe that Jesus is less human than us! Yet we know that Jesus was both true God and perfect true man and of an unfallen nature. To think that Jesus could love our mother less than us in our fallen state becomes unthinkable. In fact it suggests that Jesus was less than divine and less than a perfect human. And that my brother and sisters is a heretical thought that The Church rejected many centuries ago when it corrected the errors of Arianism in the 4th century. But brothers and sisters we also know that the bible tells us that Mary is also our spiritual mother - the new Eve. And so it is high time that those who refuse to honor their spirital mother come to their senses and know that there is nothing Jesus would refuse His mother nor anything that Mary would ask of her Son that was not done so as to honor Him.

Just ideas.

:thumbsup:

James


#9

Hi James
Thanks for the kind words, you have no idea how important it is for priests and deacons to get feedback about their homilies, when they are good but also when they miss the mark. One of the things I will always remember from my homiletics profesor is that “One homily is preached but a hundred homilies are heard” meaning that every one in the congregation hears a different homily.

My goodness I hope there is long time before I have to start recycling my homilies :stuck_out_tongue: :slight_smile:

I have to admit I struggled with this sentence, I though hard about this point but at the end decided to leave it in. Not as shock value but as ultimate truth. To think that some how Jesus is less or more than a man is a heresy the church have been fighting for 2000 years.

Again I thank you for your other suggestions and I will keep then in mind for future homilies.

In His love…

Deacon Harbey

PS> If you want to take a stab at some of my other homilies, they are online at deaconharbey.blogspot.com.


#10

Thank you for your lovely post.


#11

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