Luke 10:38-42, 11:27, 28
In the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit
Today is the Dormition of the Virgin, which is especially important among the twelve major feasts of the Orthodox Church. The death of the Mother of God is remembered there. This event is not mentioned in the New Testament. However, the Orthodox Church has cherished it as a sacred Tradition. Today, let’s take a look back at how the church conveyed this event, using the icon of the feast placed in the center of the church as a clue.
Mary, dying, lies on her bed. Surrounding her are disciples miraculously gathered from around the world by the Holy Spirit. In addition, two bishops watch over the situation. The angels also bow to Mary. The women are devoutly mourning Mary. And in the center stands Jesus wrapped in brilliant light. His arms are holding a young child. This child represents the soul of Mary, mother of Jesus.
The fact that Mary’s soul is depicted as a child teaches us that the reality of Mary’s death is death, but not death. Moreover, it also teaches a wonderful reality beyond “death.” Mary, the mother who once held a child newly born into this world, now she is held as a child clothed in swaddling clothes by Jesus.
She gave the “Son of God” a human body to be born into the world. And now this child of hers has let her be part of his own divinity. so that she may be born in the kingdom of God. An Orthodox theologian describes this reality as follows:
“In the coming Age, man’s ultimate purpose, to bask in the glory of the Kingdom of God, is already real here. Not only He, the God who received the flesh of man and rose from the dead, But also in Mary, the one who gave birth to God.”
Well, let’s go back to the Gospel read today.
Martha and Mary are sisters, and when Jesus stops by, Martha is busy doing many chores to entertain Jesus. Her sister Mary, on the other hand, sat down at Jesus’ feet and listened intently to the words of Lord Jesus. Her elder sister Martha, who was mad at her, said “Lord, don’t you feel anything when you see my sister making only me work for hospitality? Please scold my sister and ask her to help.”
“Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:4-42).
…Don’t you think it’s terrible? Martha is working hard and devoting herself to Jesus, isn’t she. Baking bread, dyeing eggs, decorating the chapel with flowers, Many people are working for the Feast. But paying no heed to the noise of those who work hard for the church, staring at the icon of Jesus in a corner of the church ･･･those who could only reverently make the sign of a cross are praised, “Mary chose the better one.” Jesus said so. Did this mean “Martha chose the wrong one”? I also hesitate to praise Mary under estimate Martha .I am always helped by everyone’s enthusiastic service to the church, and I thank them so much···
I became a priest and witnessed the deaths of many believers. Those who have worked hard for the church, society, and family in their lifetimes, when they face death, some of them make the sign of the cross on their hearts as if it were the first time. Some muttered, “Christ is risen.” One who couldn’t speak anymore sticks out his lips, so I brought the cross closer to his face and he quietly kissed it…
They finally chose “the one thing that is indispensable”. And, entrusting all to the Lord, they departed for a new birth, like Mary. who continued to “listen to the words of God” and kept it all her life, choosing the new life that is death, but not death.