THE AMAZING GRACE STORY OF GOD’S MOTHER! Reflection for the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Rev. Fr. Boniface Nkem Anusiem Ph.D.

Homily of Archbishop Neary for The Feast of The Assumption 15th August 2017  | Archdiocese of Tuam

According to the divine plan, every human being ought to have a mother; in fact, it is impossible to be human without the biological foreground of a mother. We also see this reality reflected in other living organisms around us.

When God decided to take up the project of redeeming humanity long after the sin of Adam and Eve, he comes through a human mother. This means that even God had to follow the human reproductive protocols he designed to achieve His salvific plan. In simple terms, God became man to save humanity.

How did God become man? Through the incarnation, which stands for the process of God who is Spirit becoming flesh. The Gospel of John (1:14) says, “And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

A further question would be, “where did the Word take flesh?” The answer is, “in the womb of a human mother, a Jewish virgin called Mary betrothed to a man named Joseph of the house of David. However, before Joseph could bring her into his home as a wife, something strange happened.

God sent an angel to Mary with an unusual greeting and uncommon proposal that was never heard nor imagined. “Greetings favored one! The Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28). But, of course, Mary was afraid and perplexed about the greeting, so the angel added, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.” (Luke 1:30).

The rest of the message was the proposal that she would become the mother of Jesus the Christ, the Son of the Most High God, who would rule in the stead of his Father David, and his kingdom would have no end.

Mother of God, Full of Grace

The story of Mary, the Mother of God, started with grace and ended with grace. That is the real meaning of the phrase “full of grace” or highly favored.” The apostle Matthew (1:23) reminds us that the prophet Isaiah (7:14) had declared that “a virgin shall conceive and bear a Son and will call him Immanuel (God with us).”

If Mary is full of grace, it could have been from the moment she was conceived in her mother’s womb, not just at the time of the angel’s visit. Furthermore, the same grace of God was with her throughout her life.

Was it not grace that preserved Mary from all forms of defilements until the angel comes with the message? Yes, it was grace that kept her from the stain of original sin and made it possible for her to conceive of her Son, Jesus Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit. The same grace made it possible for her to be led by the Holy Spirit to visit Elizabeth and for the unborn child, John the Baptist, to jump in her mother’s womb when she heard Mary’s greeting (Luke 1:39-44).

Grace led Mary to discover that the wine at the wedding at Cana in Galilee was spent. Grace led her to tell her Son that they had no wine. Grace made her give the attendants and all of us an understanding of how to obtain blessings from God when she said: “do whatever he tells you!” The Blessed Virgin Mary was Grace-Filled, and everything about her was Grace-Full!

The Blessed Virgin Mary: God’s Special Vessel, Preserved and Taken.

In the words of St. Paul to Timothy (2 Tim. 2:21), a house may contain many vessels, but some are for more honorable use while others are for common use. We could see how this relates to the Blessed Virgin Mary, whom God chose as an honorable vessel to become His Mother. God also filled her with special favors not for her merit but because of whom she would carry; Jesus Christ, God the Son.

Now let me ask you this question, “what would you do with a precious thing you have when you are moving to another location?”  From my experience, people give out or discard things that are no longer useful to them, but they keep the most valuable items; nobody in the right senses would leave without a great treasure.

If the Blessed Virgin Mary was chosen by God even before she was born and full of grace (the favored one); if she was conceived without a stain of original sin because she would become the mother of the sinless one; then she qualifies to be preserved and taken by God after the end of her life here on earth. Remember that the word that took flesh did not experience decay but rose from the dead and ascended to heaven.

Mary would not be the only biblical character that God took. God took Enoch after living for 365 years (Genesis 5:23-24). Elijah was taken up to heaven in a chariot of fire (2 Kings 2:11). Of course, we remember that our Lord Jesus Christ ascended to heaven as the disciples watch (Acts 1:9).

Moving Forward

The assumption of Mary, the Mother of God, to heaven assures us that God will neither forget nor forsake His own (Deuteronomy 31:6). Some people argue that we cannot find the assumption in the bible, but that does not limit the fact that God graciously preserved his mother from earthly corruption and had her assumed to heaven where she sits by her eternal Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

With the assumption of Mary, we keep alive the hope that when our earthly tent is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven (2 Cor. 51). Today we are invited to reflect on that eternal home our Lord promised to prepare for us (John 14:1). Like Mary, we are invited to cooperate with the grace of God, which is constantly available to us as an aid on our journey to God.

Like Mary, we need to be open to accepting God’s will for our lives with submission and humility. However, we should also allow the grace of God to guide our choices and actions, and God will never forsake us.

God bless you.

Fr. Bonnie.

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