CYCLE II: HOMILY FOR THE FEAST OF THE ASSUMPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
HOMILY THEME: ASCENT OF THE NEW ARK
BY: REV. FR. ANSELM CHIGOZIE AMADI
HOMILY: (Rev. 11:19; 12:1-6, 10; 1Cor. 15:20-27; Lk. 1:39-56)
INTRODUCTION: The theology of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary stands on the two major attributes: namely, Mary as the New Eve and the Ark of the Covenant; also the house of gold. As Jesus is the new Adam, Mary is the New Eve, and the beginning of new creation. As the beginning of new creation, both are free from original and actual sin, and as a result, rose above the curse of sin: “Dust you are, to dust you shall return” (Rev. 3:19). As the Ark of the new Covenant, Mary is raised above corruption.
MARY, THE NEW EVE: If Jesus is the new Adam (1Cor. 15:45, 47, Rom. 5:18-19), it logically follows that Mary is the new Eve. She is seen as the woman promised in Genesis (3:15), whose offspring will crush the head of the ancient serpent. This is evident in the light of the parallel between the gospel of John and the book of Genesis. Both books begin with the prologue “in the beginning” followed by the account of seven days of creation (Gen. 1:2-30) and the first seven days of Jesus’ ministry (Jn. 1:19, 29, 35, 43 and 2:1) respectively. By following the very style of Genesis, the gospel of John depicts Jesus as the first Adam, whose public ministry is the beginning of new creation. This culminates in the events of the wedding feast of Cana, where Jesus addresses his mother as “woman” (Jn. 2:4) just as Adam calls Eve “woman” (Gen 2:23). This implies that Mary is the promised woman announced in Gen 3:15.
If Mary is the new Eve, then she is created without sin. This logic follows from the fact that both Adam and Eve were created along with other things, ‘very good’ (Gen. 1:31). Since the new Adam and the new Eve have come to reverse the mistake of old, they are free from actual sins. Therefore, they are not subject to the sentence: “Dust you are, to dust you shall return” (Gen. 3:19).
MARY, THE NEW ARK: The book of revelation (11&12) describes the Ark and the Woman so close to one another as dual symbols of the same person. The old Ark was made of acacia wood which has natural properties to resist decay; and plated with pure gold, suggesting total purity (Ex. 25:10-11). It contains the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments, the manna, and the staff of Aaron (Heb. 9:4). Likewise, Mary is the actual Ark that bore the Word made flesh (Jn. 1:14), the living bread that came down from heaven (Jn.6:51) and the high priest greater than Aaron.
To show that Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant, we have a number of parallels between the Ark of the Old Covenant and Mary. As the Ark of the Covenant was overshadowed by the cloud of God’s presence (Ex. 40:34-35), so Mary was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit. As David danced before the Ark (2Sam. 7:18-19), so did John the Baptist dance at the presence of Mary. As David exclaimed: “How can the Ark of the Lord come into my care” (2Sam. 6:9), so Elizabeth exclaimed: “How is it that the mother of my Lord will visit me.” As the Ark was in the house of Obed-Edom for three months (2Sam. 6:11), so was Mary in the house of Elizabeth for three months.
THE LOGIC OF ASSUMPTION: Mary, the new Eve, is created “very good.” This implies that she is free from original sin (Immaculate Conception) and actual sin. Actual sin, because the New Testament fulfillments are superior to Old Testament types and shadows. Raised above the influence of sin, she cannot be subject to the consequence of sin. As the Ark of the Old Covenant is made of incorruptible acacia wood, and plated in and out with pure gold; the new Ark remains incorruptible. What is more, David, in his prophetic psalm foretells the ascension of the Lord and the assumption of his Ark: “Arise, O Lord, and go to your resting place, you and the ark of your might” (Ps. 132:8).
Jesus, the new Adam comes to undo the works of the enemy (1Jn. 3:8). As the woman made Adam to commit the first act of sin, Mary, the new woman made Jesus to perform the first miracle. As Adam and Eve shared in the curse of the original sin together, the new Adam and new Eve share the glory of new creation together. As Jesus is raised above the power of corruption and ascends into heaven, Mary follows suit, assumed into heaven. By implication, we shall follow where the forerunners of new creation have preceded us in glory.
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