Homily: The Feast of the Assumption 2013

Readings of the Day 

It was a journey through darkness, and Frodo Baggins was feeling down. They were on a dangerous mission, and part of him just wanted to be home, living a quiet life. Gandalf observed that people throughout time who live in dangerous days wish they didn’t have carry this burden, and his wish wasn’t unique. Then he said that there was a positive destiny that he found consoling. “Bilbo was meant to find the Ring. In which case, you were also meant to have it. And that is an encouraging thought.”

This destiny is what made is possible for them to carry on to the end. A extraordinary person would have given into temptation to harness the dark power and use it for good, meaning Evil would have won in the end. It’s because Frodo was an ordinary guy that he made it all the way to Mordor. Because he was an ordinary guy, he was able to accept help from others, especially his friend Sam, able to avoid temptation to power, not only to use it for his own sake but also try to accomplish his mission at the head of an army. It was an ordinary guy doing something simple that Good prevailed.

Mary was a simple young girl, probably around 13 or 14. She probably didn’t have great aspirations, she may have wanted a quiet life with her husband and family in Judea just like everyone else she knew. When Gabriel appeared to her, her thoughts might have been the same as Frodo: “Why me?” When she went to Elizabeth, she was doing something women did for each other regularly at that time, help a baby come into the world. Her response to this recognition is humble, because she knows who she is and how ordinary she is: “My soul magnifies my God.” She knows she’s going to do something simple, something ordinary, and yet through that, Christ will come into the world. It’s because she has a destiny, and accepting that destiny makes it all possible.  Through that destiny, she was raised up at the end of her earthly existence, just like Elijah.

We’re ordinary people, most of us don’t have great aspirations. We want to live quiet lives, for the most part, have a safe place to call home, friends and family nearby. Yet we have a destiny, we are made for a special purpose, just like Mary. It can be scary, especially if we think about it on a dark night, we can wonder if we have what it takes to carry it off. But that destiny carries with it a promise: Christ will come into the world through us, just like it did through Mary. Christ becomes part of us through the Eucharist, and our destiny is to work together to carry out Christ’s mission in the world. Like Frodo, we’re called to pay attention to what’s going on around us, to resist the temptation to use the power we’re given for selfish purposes, to work with others, whether they feel fair or foul, to keep moving toward the Kingdom whether it’s through peaceful landscapes or difficult terrain.

Accepting Christ within us is the same challenge Mary had. It’s accepting who we’re meant to be, accepting what we’re meant to do. Like Mary, our greatest acclaim can be the same Elizabeth gave her: “Blessed are you who believed what the Lord has spoken to you would be fulfilled.”

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