Archbishop Richard Smith heard Confessions before the Aug. 14 pilgrimage Mass.


Archbishop Richard Smith heard Confessions before the Aug. 14 pilgrimage Mass.

August 25, 2014

SKARO – We live in "a treadmill society" in which people expend great amounts of energy and are proud of being busy, but end up going nowhere, says Archbishop Richard Smith.

Fitness centres with their treadmills, rowing machines and stationary bicycles are typical of today's society, Smith said. "People are running for all they're worth; they're rowing like crazy, peddling like mad and going absolutely no place."

So too in our society, people use up lots of energy, but many may feel all their efforts are leading nowhere, he said.

Because people lack a sense of direction or moral purpose, they turn in on themselves and away from others, Smith said in his homily at the Aug. 14 vigil Mass for the feast of the Assumption at the Skaro pilgrimage.

Turned in on themselves, they lose their moral compass and make up their morality as they go, he said.

With no compass or direction in life, people fall into "a deep moral darkness and confusion which is wreaking havoc in their lives," he said. Death, in that perspective, can only be seen as "the final limit beyond which there is nothing."

The feast of Mary's Assumption into heaven reveals the antidote to the deep and abiding anxiety of the treadmill society, the archbishop said. It is a statement that the Church sees Mary standing beside us as a sure sign of hope.

"What we celebrate tonight is the assumption of Our Lady, body and soul, into heaven following her earthly pilgrimage."

We do have a direction – it is the destiny of eternal life that God has intended for humanity from the beginning, he said. "What was revealed to Mary in a unique way reveals to us the destiny that the Lord holds in store for each and every one of us – the destiny of eternal life."


When we allow ourselves to be grasped by this truth then we understand with joy that death is not the end; it is a door, a new beginning. "Death is a gateway to the fullness of life with Jesus."

When we realize this, everything is brought into perspective, Smith said. We can obtain happiness in this life and the fullness of joy in the next only by living in union with Jesus Christ.

Mary, he continued, stands before us as a sign of hope who models what it means to be obedient to the will of God. She invites us to place all of our trust, not in ourselves, but in Jesus.

Mary also teaches us to respond immediately to the needs of others. "The call to help one another will allow no obstacle to stand in the way."

Her visit to her cousin Elizabeth reveals Mary's immediate response to the call to perform an act of charity. Likewise, the pain and suffering of many people around us calls us urgently to charity, the archbishop said.

By our Baptism, Smith said, we have an unavoidable responsibility to mission – "to live not for ourselves, but for others."


"People are suffering; people are in pain and they need to hear the one message that alone can give them consolation, hope and peace. That is uniquely the message of the Gospel."

The Gospel calls us to trust fully in the love and teaching of Jesus. It invites each of us to imitate Mary's fidelity so that through obedience to God, we will enjoy "the extraordinary, unparalleled blessing that God wants for each and every one of us."