Der Vasken’s Sermon on August 15, 2021

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

We celebrate a beautiful feast this morning that reminds us of the importance of St. Mary’s Life within the Christian faith and tradition. Today is the Feast of the Assumption of Mary, the Mother of God. It is a day of respect and honor. It is a day when the Church focuses on the extraordinary role

St. Mary played in the life of her Son and His Apostles. The Feast of the Assumption remembers 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 bears witness to who she was and who she is in the life of this faith that we all follow.

St. Mary loved the Apostles. She lifted them up and offered them a voice of wisdom. She picked them up when discouraged and supported them when the world rejected them. She was the one who reminded them of their path and purpose in life. She was the one who kept them focused on living their lives in a God-pleasing way—to stay focused on the Words of her Son, to stay 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 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 He was nailed.

This peaceful, loving young woman saw great difficulty but she was a woman of faith. She believed fully 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. She knew about an eternal world far beyond this world. A world that will never come to an end; a world where anger or hatred or viruses will never find a home; a world where her Son will reign as the King of kings and Lord of lords forever and ever.

St. Mary was a woman of prayer and peace, a woman of patience who bore pain and faced difficulty and yet knew how to rejoice through it all because of her faith. Humble and pious, St. Mary was a mentor in the eyes of the Apostles. She knew that the Apostles were eyewitnesses to great events and miracles, but she also knew that they were simple men as human as everybody else, and that they would need support and backing in their lives. So her role was to encourage them to look to the Heavens when in doubt.

Through her example and her words and even through her burial, she helped the Apostles keep one eye on Heaven at all times and that is what she can do for our lives as well. St. Mary points everyone toward Heaven. She points to a world far greater than this one 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. That is how we will be able to face all that life sends our way.

For the better part of two years and it appears to be revving up again, we have been limited and required to be isolated from the lives we have always known. Our church, work, family, school, socializing and much more have all been put on hold. It was done for our health and safety. However, along with the isolation came a new host of concerns—anxiety, depression, worry, unease and on and on we could name them.

People are on edge with each other. People are quicker to anger than ever before. People seem more doubtful than ever before. We don’t know who or what to trust any more. Our restrictions have gone down but our anxiety has gone up.

So on this Feast of St. Mary, let’s ask ourselves:

• What are the challenges I face in my life?
• How can I find the same peace that St. Mary kept in her heart always and forever?

She encouraged us all to look up to the Heavens from where our strength would come because the Peace of God filled the heart of St. Mary and is ready to do the same for us today. May we all find time to look up every day.

Amen.

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