Today's question is this: If we are made in the image and likeness of God, then why do we suffer and die, and why do our bodies corrupt in the grave? God does not corrupt, and his life does not end, so why do ours?
So we seek and answer. And the answer to this question that our ancestors arrived at was that the glory that is ours through our oneness with God, that which creates us in his image and likeness, was lost to sin and death by those that represented us in the beginning. Through their selfishness and greed another reality entered the picture, one that was not in the original plan of God. Through the sin of our first ancestors we now worked by the sweat of our brow, we suffered pain and hardship, we died, and our bodies decayed into dust. We were lost to the one who could not stand to lose what he had so lovingly created.
In time, restoration took place through the Creator's Living Word becoming flesh, dwelling among us, and taking our weakness, our sinfulness, even death itself to the tree of the cross - all done in total and pure love. From that moment on, we were raised to a higher level of existence. Our life was not just bodily, with its limitations, but now God's life existed within us, and we were gifted with eternal life, a spiritual life that reflects our Godlikeness. Even though we would see corruption of the earthly body, we were given the promise of a glorified body sharing eternal life and glory with God at a day of final judgement.
Today, on this feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven, we celebrate her peaceful and joyous death and her entry into that eternal glory that is our destiny. She, who was filled with the Holy Spirit and gave human flesh to the Word of God, was given the privilege of "skipping a step" on her journey ... of proceeding with her Son from the moment of death into the presence of the Father for all eternity. She is our hope, the reminder of what is in store for us.
The answer to the question "Why death and bodily corruption?" is sin and the separation from God. The solution is found in the redemption won for us by Mary's Son, Jesus, by his death on the cross. And the promise for our future lies in the resurrection of Jesus and the example of Mary's being assumed into Heaven.
The Diocese of Greensburg (Pennsylvania)
where I serve as a priest
was placed by Pope John XXIII
in the early 1960's
under the patronage of Mary,
our Lady of the Assumption.
On this, our patronal feast,
please pray for Bishop Lawrence Brandt,
retired Bishop Anthony Bosco,
and the good people of this part of God's Kingdom.