By CARDINAL TIMOTHY M. DOLAN
I’m going to make an example out of you!”
Usually, hearing those words, we figure someone is in big trouble. The one uttering those words, most of the time through clenched teeth, wants to punish the person against whom they are hissed, teach him or her “a lesson,” letting others know the uncomfortable or painful results of a mistake or bad action.
But, that’s not the case all the time. Can we not also “make an example” of one who has done the right thing, who has shown particular virtue, and made the right choices?
We sure can. And that’s what God, our Father, has done for the woman He selected to be the Mother of His Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. Our Father made an example of Mary, showing through her what He intends for all of us, His children.
God our Father “making an example” out of His daughter, Mary , is especially evident in the magnificent feast we celebrate this Sunday, August 15, her Assumption into heaven.
The Bible tells us that our Creator did not intend sin and death for us. Nope! He wanted grace and eternal life! These are gifts , and a gift cannot be coerced. And we did not open the gift. We freely chose/choose to reject it. No to grace and life…enter sin and death.
To keep the dream of His original design—wrecked by original sin—God chose Mary .
Instead of conceived and born with sin, like all of us, she is immaculately conceived , the feast we observe on December 8. This is what God wanted for all of us—and restored, by the way, through Baptism into Christ.
Instead of dying and having her body buried to corrupt into the earth, she is assumed body and soul into heaven, the event we reverently recall each August 15. This is what God intends for all of us, indeed, what He planned from the start but was foiled, that all of us would reign with Him forever, body and soul. What God the Father did for Mary in the privilege of her Assumption , He will do for all of us at the end of time, when, through His mercy and upon His judgment, our bodies and souls will be united.
Our Blessed Mother becomes the second part of a “before-and-after” commercial. We look at ourselves and the world around us and see sin, evil, corruption, suffering, death, the “before.”
Then we gaze upon Mary and see the “after”: eternal life, body and soul united, union with God, the triumph of His will through her son and His, Jesus.