Der Vasken's Sermon on Augus 18, 2019

Aug 21, 2019

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Today the Armenian Church celebrates the Feast of the Assumption of Mary--the Mother of God.

This feast is celebrated every year to remind us of the importance of St. Mary's life within the Armenian Church tradition and within the greater Christian family.  It is a day of respect and honor, and it is a day in which the Church focuses on the unique role St. Mary played in the life of her Son and His Apostles.  The Feast of the Assumption commemorates the burial of St. Mary.  At her burial, we learn even more how valued and loved she was by God.  The burial of St. Mary offers us a greater indication about who she was, about what role she played and what she valued as important.

St. Mary was the one, who heartened the Apostles and loved them.  She was the voice of wisdom in their lives and the one, who lifted them up when discouraged and supported them when the world wanted nothing to do with them.  And she was the one, who reminded them of their path and purpose in life. She kept them focused on living their lives in a God-pleasing way, on staying focused on the Words of her Son, on staying focused on Heaven and on those things that are eternal. 

St. Mary saw many difficult moments in her life:

  • From the birth of her Son, when there was no room for them in the Inn;
  • To watching the crowds of people mocking Him and spitting on Him on His way to His Crucifixion;
  • To the longest three hours of her life as she cried at the foot of the Cross upon which her son was nailed.
This peaceful, loving, young woman saw much difficulty, but she was a woman of faith.  She had strong belief in the Power of God.  To the very end, St. Mary welcomed life with all its difficulties and joys because she knew that this life was only the beginning.

The world, where the believer will spend all of eternity, is far beyond this world and anything it has to offer.  The world, beyond this world, will be a world  that never ends, a world where anger and hatred and illness will never find a home, a world where her Son will reign as the King of Kings forever and ever.  St. Mary is a woman of prayer and peace--a woman of patience, who bore pain, faced difficulty and yet knew how to rejoice through it all because of her faith.

St. Mary was a huge asset to the Apostles.  She knew that the Apostles were simple men, who witnessed great things, but she also knew that they were as human as everybody else, and that they would need support and backing in their lives.  So her role was to help them feel encouraged and stay focused on the world beyond this one.  In other words, she was their "glimpse into Heaven."  Her example, her words, even her burial, offered the Apostles a "look" into Heaven, and that is what she can be for our lives as well.  

St. Mary calls on us to focus on a world far greater than this one.  She points us toward Heaven, and she tells us to live our lives in this world by looking upward to the Heavens.

  • That is from where our answers will come;
  • That is from where our encouragement will come;
  • And that is how we will be able to face all that life sends our way.

On this Feast of the Assumption, let us keep the example of St. Mary in mind and ask ourselves:

  • How often do I look up to the Heavens for my answers?
  • How can I face the difficulties of this world the way St. Mary did?
  • And what are the difficulties I face now in my life?
May we all find some time every day to look up for encouragement and for the answers we seek.

Amen.