This year the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary falls on a Sunday. There are three types of days honoring the saints: memorials, feasts and solemnities. Solemnities are the highest ranking and even takes precedence over Sunday.
[Our parish patron, John the Baptist has two days honoring him. June 24th is the solemnity of his birth. August 29th is the feast of his martyrdom. This year August 29th falls on a Sunday and Sunday take precedence over memorials. We may make an exception since he is our parish patron.]
On November 1, 1950, Pope Pius XII defined Mary’s Assumption into heaven to be a dogma of the Church. However, belief in the assumption has long roots in our Catholic tradition. In Jerusalem, by the mid fifth century, August 15th was dedicated to Mary and it soon became a commemoration of her birth into heaven. The sixth century Gallic liturgy has a feast on January 18th that was celebrated as the feast of Mary’s Assumption. In the seventh century a feast honoring Mary’s birth into heaven was being celebrated in Rome on August 15th.
I have mentioned a couple of times at Mass now that to be human is to be a bodily-spirit. The resurrection of Jesus and the assumption of Mary reveals that even after physical death we still are bodily-spirits. We believe in the resurrection of the body, for without a body we cannot be human. We do not cease being human in heaven. Together with Jesus, Mary already shares in the resurrection of the body. As we celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption we look forward to that event when we too, like Mary, will be body and spirit in Heaven being gloriously human as we share in the life of the Divine.