for Sunday, August 15, 2010
Lots of people prefer a spirituality that does not have a strong bodily
element to it. In our Catholic following of Christ, the body confronts us
at every turn. Jesus is born in the flesh for our salvation. Mary is
taken up to heaven, body and soul. We believe in the resurrection of the
The first reading, from the Book of Revelation, sets the state for the
rebellion of the angels because, at least some early thinkers thought so,
no angel should ever have to worship a human, since humans are less exalted
than angels in creation.
The second reading, from the First Letter to the Corinthians, gives us a
clear teaching about the resurrection of the body. It also teaches that
ultimately, resurrection will overcome death entirely. It is Christ who is
our resurrection and who makes true life possible for us.
The Gospel is Mary's song of thanksgiving for the mighty works of God.
Again, all of the references keep bringing us back to the reality that we
are corporeal beings, people of flesh and blood and spirit.
Just as some of the great Old Testament figures were believed to have been
taken into heaven bodily (such as Moses and Elijah), so also the early
believers could understand that God would keep Mary from physical
corruption. We Catholics believe that Mary was always kept free from sin
by the foreseen merits of her Son, Jesus. We believe that Mary can
intercede for us, even today, if we call on her name. We Catholics, at
least in principle, understand that Mary is not God, not a fourth person of
the Godhead, but instead a model human being who was able to listen to
God's work and to put it into practice in her life.
Just as Christ rose from the dead, so also Mary is taken bodily into
heaven - but only in view of the merits of her Son. Christ is always
central. All salvation comes through Christ. If anyone is saved, that
salvation comes through Jesus Christ.
Let us pray today for a deeper understanding of the body and a strong
respect for our bodily reality. May the Lord guide the Church so that she
reflects more completely the goodness and love of the Lord. May Mary
intercede for us today so that we may follow her Son, Jesus Christ.
Readings of the day:
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: