Saturday, August 15, 2020

Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Vigil

One of the most painful aspects of this pandemic is the social distancing and the importance of having limited physical contact with everyone, except those with whom we live. It is very difficult to not be able to physically embrace, shake hands, and touch. Our catholic faith has been greatly diminished by our inability to gather and sing, clap hands, share peace, sing brightly, even if off key. As a religion, we rely on our bodies and physical touch to celebrate and engage the Sacraments. Our belief in the Incarnation, God uniting with our humanity in its most physical, human form: our body, is the cornerstone of our Redemption.

This Feast of the Assumption is a Feast celebrating the importance of the body-soul connection. We are who we are, our very identity, is not just our soul, but the soul breathing in the vessel of the body. At death, we do not “shed” our bodies, as if they were something to be endured in this life but freed from in the next. NO!!!

At death, we are “separated” from our bodies, and in this separation, our identities are diminished, incomplete. We are destined for a great, joyous reunion of body with soul, but glorified and transformed. The vessel of our body will become a beautiful dwelling place for our soul. We are human beings: souls united with bodies; we are NOT angels, nor are we meant to be. God created our bodies from Mother Earth and breathed His life into our body. This divine breath created our soul.

Easter is the greatest of all feasts: Christ rising bodily from the dead, His Soul reuniting with His glorified Body. What happened to Christ on Easter IS OUR DESTINY!!!!! OUR bodies will “rise” and be totally transformed and glorified when the soul again dwells within the body. Easter is at heart and soul.... and body of our faith. And our glorified bodies won’t age nor will they ever gain weight!!!! Bring on the cannolis!!!

Mary, our Mother, shares in this Easter glory in a unique way, given her place in God’s plan. At the moment of her death, body and soul were not separated. Her destiny is ours!!!! She experienced the fullness of the Redemption of her Son at the moment of her death. And now she lives in a new and glorious way to guide us... to strengthen us... to love us as a Mother.

We need this Feast of the Assumption now more than ever to give us hope for the future, a hope grounded in the truth that the forces of death and destruction will not win. Life, beauty, joy, love will claim us and our bodies/souls. In heaven we will embrace freely, eat freely, perhaps passionately love freely! We can’t do any of these without a body!!!! No physical distancing!! Amen. Alleluia!!!!

Fr. Frank