15 August, 2019. The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

1st Reading: Revelation 11:19; 12:1-6, 10

The woman and the dragon symbolised the persecuted church; later applied to the Assumption

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 wilderness, 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.

Responsorial: Psalm 45

R.: The queen stands at your right hand, robed in gold

The queen takes her place at your right hand in gold of Ophir.
Hear, O daughter, and see; turn your ear,
forget your own people and your father’s house. (R./)
So shall the king desire your beauty;
for he is your lord, pay homage to him. (R./)
They are brought in with gladness and joy;
they enter the palace of the king. (R./)

2nd 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

During her visit to Elizabeth, Mary recites the Magnificat

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 Saviour,
for he has looked with favour 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.”
Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.


Fairest of creatures

Every human being, male or female, is created in the image and likeness of God. (Genesis 1:26). Our Lady’s Assumption brings to fulfilment this promise of the creation story. Mostly we try to reverse this process and try to shape God in our own image and likeness. We imagine a docile God, who will grant our wishes if only we pray; or an indulgent God who will turn a blind eye to our injustices; or a vengeful God, whom we obey only out of fear.
To measure our spiritual outlook just ask, Do I share Our Blessed Lady’s vision of God, when she says, “My soul glorifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.” Mary combines deep worship of God with heartfelt joy in his presence, She is enraptured by God, does not ask things for herself, is not worried about the future. She knows the goodness God has shown her up to the present moment, and is full of gratitude. In her we have the supreme example of someone captivated by the love of God. In this sense, she is the fairest of creatures.
First of all the saints, she is the willing and joyful servant of the Lord. She lived entirely for God and therefore God, who cannot be outdone in giving, gave her the fullness of grace. Now just as Jesus did not abandon us when he ascended to heaven, so Mary has not been separated from our prayerful community by her Assumption, but remains for each of us a living sign of hope. We are called, like her, to share the fullness of Christ’s glory. She is the model and guarantee of our future life with God, in heaven. We pray today to be worthy to reach that heavenly life that God has prepared for those who love him.

A model of following Jesus

The Gospels present the Virgin Mary with features that can deepend our devotion to her. They 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, who knows how to meditate in her heart on her Son’s words and actions, the prophetess who sings to God, the Saviour of the poor. She is the faithful mother who stays near her Son as he is rejected, condemned, and executed on the cross. Then, as a witness of the risen Christ, she prays with the disciples to receive the Spirit who will always accompany them into the future.
Luke invites us to make our own the song of Mary, and let ourselves be guided by her Gospel spirit. We see in the “Magnificat” the full splendor of Mary’s faith and her motherly identification with her Son Jesus.
Mary begins by proclaiming God’s greatness: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, because he has looked on his lowly servant”. She is happy because God has accepted her lowliness. God’s special care is for his little ones. Mary’s hymn echoes 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”. Her faith in the “God of the little ones” is fully in harmony with Jesus.
She knows that God’is faithful love extends from age to age. His mercy accompanies all generations. Jesus preaches the same message: God’s mercy reaches out to us all. That’s why his disciples need to “be merciful as your Father is merciful”. In her motherly heart, Mary uniquely embodies the tenderness of God Father and Mother, and points us to Jesus’ core message, that the very nature of God is compassion and love.
Mary also proclaims the God of the poor, who puts down princes and removes their power to oppress others. God also “raises up the lowly” so that they recover their dignity. He will punish the rich for robbing the poor. On the other hand, he will fill the starving with good things, so that they enjoy a more human life. Jesus had the same message, that the last shall be first. Mary lets us welcome Jesus’ Good News, that God is the God of the poor.
She teaches us to follow Jesus, practicing compassion, working for a more fraternal world and trusting in the God of the little ones. (from J.A. Pagola)

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