15Aug 15 August. The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

1st Reading: Revelation 12:1-6, 10

The woman and the dragon was first an image for the church under persecution; later it was extended to the Assumption of our Lady

Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple; and there were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.

A great portent appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pangs, in the agony of giving birth. Then another portent appeared in heaven: a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. Then the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bear a child, so that he might devour her child as soon as it was born. And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron. But her child was snatched away and taken to God and to his throne; and the woman fled into the desert, where she has a place prepared by God, so that there she can be nourished for one thousand two hundred sixty days.

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, proclaiming, “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Messiah.

Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:20-25

Christ is “first fruits” of the resurrection. His mother already shares the fullness of redemption

Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power; for he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.

Gospel: Luke 1:39-56

Mary’s hymn of praise, during her visit to Elizabeth

In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”

And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

And Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.

Bible

Faithful follower of Jesus

[José Antonio Pagola}

The Gospel-writers present the Virgin with features that can enliven our devotion to Mary, Jesus’ Mother. This vision helps us to love her, meditate on her, imitate her, pray to her and trust in her with a new and evangelical spirit. Mary is the great believer. The first follower of Jesus. The woman who knows how to meditate in her heart on her Son’s deeds and words. The prophet who sings to God, the Savior of the poor announced by Jesus. The faithful mother who stays near her Son as he is persecuted, condemned, and put to death on the cross. Witness of the risen Christ, she who joins together with the disciples of the Spirit who will always accompany Jesus’ Church.

Luke, for his part, invites us to make our own the song of Mary, in order to let ourselves be guided to Jesus by her spirit, since in the «Magnificat» shines the full splendor of Mary’s faith and her motherly identification with her Son Jesus. Mary begins her proclamation of God’s greatness: «My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, because he has looked upon the humiliation of his servant». Mary is happy because God has put his gaze on her lowliness. That’s how God is with the little ones. Mary sings this with the same joy with which Jesus blesses the Father, because God is hidden to «the wise and the learned» and is revealed to «the little ones». Mary’s faith in the God of the little ones puts us in tune with Jesus.

Mary proclaims the «powerful» God because «his faithful love extends age after age». God put his power at the service of compassion. His mercy accompanies all generations. Jesus preaches the same message: God is merciful with everyone. That’s why he tells his disciples of all ages: «be merciful as your Father is merciful». From her mother’s heart, Mary captures as no one else the tenderness of God Father and Mother, and introduces us into the core of Jesus’ message: God is compassionate love.

Mary also proclaims the God of the poor because «he pulls down princes from their thrones» and has left them without power to keep oppressing; on the contrary, «he raises high the lowly» so that they recover their dignity. He chastises the rich for robbing the poor and «he sends them away empty»; on the contrary, «he fills the starving with good things» so that they enjoy a more human life. Jesus shouted out the same message: «the last shall be first». Mary lets us welcome Jesus’ Good News: God is the God of the poor. Mary teaches us as no one else to follow Jesus, announcing the God of compassion, working for a more fraternal world and trusting in the God of the little ones.


First-fruits of Redemption

God created us in his own image and likeness . We can reflect on Our Lady’s Assumption in light of this deep truth from the creation story. Mostly we are tempted to reverse its meaning and try to shape God in our own image and likeness. Naturally we have a limited concept of our Creator. How we cling to the notion of a docile God, who will grant our wishes if only we ask him in the right way; or an indulgent God who will turn a blind eye on the double standards in our lives; or a vengeful God, whom we obey only out of fear. To test the quality of our faith we might wonder, Do my ideas resemble Mary’s vision of God, especially as in today’s gospel when she says, “My soul glorifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.”

Mary combined sincere worship of God with deep joy in his presence, in the spirit of the advice given to the early Christians, “Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing” (1 Thess 5:17). In her Magnificat, Mary is enraptured by God, she does not ask anything for herself, she is not worried about the future; she thinks only of the goodness of God up to the present moment, and of the gratitude she owes to God. In her we have the supreme example of someone totally captivated by the love of God. In this sense, she is the fairest of all God’s creatures.

First of all the saints, she is the handmaid, the willing and joyful servant, of the Lord. She lived solely for God, and God, who cannot be outdone in generosity, conferred on her the fullness of grace. And just as Jesus did not abandon us when he ascended to heaven, but continually guides and supports his Church, so in the Assumption Mary has not been separated from the Christian community, but remains for each one of us a sign of hope. Each of us is called, like her, to share in the fullness of Christ’s glory. She is the model and guarantee of all that the believer hopes to become in heaven. We pray today that we too may be found worthy to come to that place in heaven which God has prepaed for those who love him.



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