True Love’s Kiss
Homily for the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Preached on August 15, 2013 at Saint Mary Catholic Church, Perryville KY and Saint Andrew Catholic Church, Harrodsburg KY
Readings for the Vigil: 1 Chronicles 15:3-4, 15-16; 16:1-2; Psalm 132:6-7, 9-10, 13-14; 1 Corinthians 15:54b-57
Readings for the Day: Revelation 11:19a; 12:1-6a, 10ab; Psalm 45:10, 11, 12, 16; 1 Corinthians 15:20-27; Luke 1:39-56
Rapunzel has her long golden hair, Snow her white skin and name. Aurora is a beauty both awake and asleep. Yet, none of them can compare with Mary, the woman clothed with the sun, whose feet are shod with the moon, whose head is crowned with stars (cf. Rev. 12:1). She alone is blessed among women; her alone all generations call blessed (cf. Lk. 1:42, 48).
She was not imprisoned in a tower by a wicked witch. She ate no poisoned apple nor pricked her finger on a spindle. Yet, Mary was not spared from sorrow and distress. A seven headed horned dragon threatened to devour her Son when she gave birth (cf. Rev. 12:3, 4). A people she called her own plotted to kill that Son, the Christ, by nailing Him on the cross.
But, like a fairy tale, Mary’s tale of faith does not end there.
The Evil One, that huge dragon of the Apocalypse, thought that the cross was the kiss of death for Christ her Son. Yet, it was that cross that turned out to be Christ’s true love’s kiss for fallen humanity. Because of His cross, we are no longer meant to be captives of sin and death; Christ has ransomed us for grace and life. That is why Saint Paul brazenly teaches us to taunt death: “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Cor. 15:55)
Some naysayers would argue that this tale of faith is so fantastic that it must be a fairy tale. They claim that it is all made up, that none of it is true.
Yet, as Neil Gaiman points out in the epigraph to his novella Coraline, “Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be defeated.”
Such is the secret to the enduring power of Mary’s own tale of faith. It is more than just about good overcoming evil; it is about our God remembering the promise of mercy that He made to us and to our fathers (cf. Lk. 1:54-55): that the lowly will be lifted up (cf. Lk. 1:52), that the hungry will be filled with good things (cf. Lk. 1:53), that this our mortal flesh will be raised to immortal glory. It is Gospel and it is, by far, truer than any fairy tale.
The fairy tales of Rapunzel, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty tell us to wait for a knight in shining armor, for a prince charming armed with true love’s kiss. Mary’s tale of faith tells us to wait no more: our Savior is here and, by taking her who is His mother body and soul to His glory, He has shown us that Heaven’s happily ever after is not that far, far away. It is within the grasp of those who believe that He is the one true love.