At the foot of the Cross, Jesus entrusts Mary to John and John to Mary.
Jesus of course dies, is resurrected on Easter, and then 40 days later ascends into Heaven.
Scholars think that Mary lived another 10-20 years and then was assumed into Heaven by Her Son, which is what we celebrate today on this Feast of the Assumption.
It is this interval of time that I’d like to focus on.
Why didn’t Jesus bring Mary up to Heaven with Him?
She had no sin. God doesn’t need errand runners, and if he desired to bring His Mother home to Heaven, why not just do it right away?
One thing that I’d like to focus on, then, is that in some mysterious way, to exist, on Planet Earth and to be here drawing breath in this moment is, for you and I and everyone else (as it was for Mary) BETTER than being in Heaven.
That seems to make no sense. Heaven is perfect bliss, perfect happiness, no more pain or sorrw…
But Jesus left Mary here for 20 more years.
This fact speaks very powerfully to us, and I’d like to look at how.
Archbishop Fulton Sheen had a primetime television show for many years, and the show had a very interesting title: “Life Is Worth Living”. That is certainly, on one hand, a very strange title. It isn’t “Wheel of Fortune” or “Jeopardy”…”Life is WORTH LIVING!”
If Archbishop Sheen felt the world needed to hear that, how much more does our world need to hear this?!?!
“Life is Worth Living”
The enemies of Christ and His Church are constantly saying, in so many different ways “LIFE, at least in certain circumstances, is NOT worth living”
1) If you are elderly and in a nursing home and your kids don’t visit you and you are sick all the time, the world tells you “life is NOT worth living. Just kill yourself…fast forward to the bliss of Heaven”
2) If you are a teenager and you are being bullied at school and you aren’t getting straight a’s and you aren’t going to get into the school you want to…just kill yourself…fast forward to the joy of Heaven…life is NOT worth living
3) That baby that is going to be born with Down Syndrome…better to kill the child and let it skip straight to the joy of Heaven…life, for that particular child, is NOT worth living
4) That baby that will be born into poverty in Africa or to that mother on drugs in New York…abortion is the merciful option…that kid’s life is NOT worth living
It is clear when we look at Today’s Feast and the fact that the Assumption was TWENTY YEARS after the Ascencsion of Jesus, what becomes crystal clear, although mysteriously so, is that in God’s mind it is in some way BETTER for us to be here on planet Earth right now, amidst the sufferings and crosses of deceased spouses, children starving, people suffering from diseases and poverty…that we be here, right now, on planet Earth, ALIVE!
It is clear that for Jesus it is His Will that right now we be here and NOT in Heaven, just as he left his Mother here for those twenty years.
For God, life is clearly WORTH living. The question we need to constantly be asking ourselves each day is do WE think life is worth living?
I didn’t include it in my homily, but I thought I’d leave this here…the end of Uncle Walt’s best poem
“The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?
That you are here—that life exists, and identity;
That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.”