Homily on the Feast of the Assumption
of the Blessed Virgin Mary

August 15, 2017


Once when visiting a grade school, I asked: “What is the Solemnity of the Assumption?” One student responded, “That is when the Church assumes that Mary is in heaven.” Well, I gave partial credit for the answer but had to explain that the Church is not merely “assuming,” The doctrine of Mary’s Assumption is firmly rooted in Sacred Scripture and Tradition and this constant teaching was infallibly defined as a dogma of the Catholic Faith by Pope Pius XII as follows: “The Immaculate Mother Of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.

Today, with the universal Church, we affirm our belief that Mary, the Mother of God is the perfect model of Christian life; who was preserved from the corruption of the grave and who is the Queen of Heaven and Earth.

On this Solemnity, we are also reminded that our destiny lies beyond the grave and each day we are being called to eternity. For that reason we said these words in our Opening Prayer: “Always attentive to the things that are above, may we merit to be sharers of Mary’s glory.”

We cannot assume that we will go to heaven. We must strive daily to cooperate with the Lord’s grace so that we may be prepared on the day He calls us to Himself. Mary shows us the way: Like her, we must, “proclaim the goodness of the Lord and rejoice in God our Savior. Like her, we must with profound trust say daily: “Let it be done to me according to your word.” In other words, as humble and faithful disciples our souls must magnify---not ourselves, but the One is Lord, the Son of God, the Son of Mary.

How blessed are we that from the Cross he gave Mary to us as our Mother to guide us on our earthly journey and to the ultimate goal for which we long.  Just yesterday we celebrated the Feast of St. Maximilian Kolbe who offered us this sound advice: “We should let ourselves be guided by Mary and rest quiet and secure in her hands. She will watch out for us; provide for us; answer our needs of body and spirit and dissolve all our difficulties and worries” Mary, Queen of Heaven and Earth, pray for us today and always. Amen.  



Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge
Bishop of Arlington