Sunday, August 15, 2010

Henceforth, All Generations Will Call Me Blessed.

Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Mass during the Day
Reading I
Revelation 11:19a; 12:1-6a, 10ab
God’s temple in heaven was opened,
and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple.

A great sign appeared in the sky,
a woman clothed with the sun,
with the moon under her feet,
and on her head a crown of twelve stars.
She was with child and wailed aloud in pain
as she labored to give birth.
Then another sign appeared in the sky;
it was a huge red dragon,
with seven heads and ten horns,
and on its heads were seven diadems.
Its tail swept away a third of the stars in the sky
and hurled them down to the earth.
Then the dragon stood before the woman about to give birth,
to devour her child when she gave birth.
She gave birth to a son, a male child,
destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod.
Her child was caught up to God and his throne.
The woman herself fled into the desert
where she had a place prepared by God.

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
“Now have salvation and power come,
and the Kingdom of our God
and the authority of his Anointed One.”
+++    +++    +++    +++
Psalm 45
The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold.
The queen takes her place at your right hand in gold of Ophir.
The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold.
Hear, O daughter, and see; turn your ear,
forget your people and your father’s house.
The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold.
So shall the king desire your beauty;
for he is your lord.
The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold.
They are borne in with gladness and joy;
they enter the palace of the king.
The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold.
+++    +++    +++    +++
Reading II
1 Corinthians 15:20-27
Christ has been raised from the dead,
the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
For since death came through man,
the resurrection of the dead came also through man.
For just as in Adam all die,
so too in Christ shall all be brought to life,
but each one in proper order:
Christ the firstfruits;
then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ;
then comes the end,
when he hands over the Kingdom to his God and Father,
when he has destroyed every sovereignty
and every authority and power.
For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.
The last enemy to be destroyed is death,
for “he subjected everything under his feet.”
Luke 1:39-56
Mary set out
and traveled to the hill country in haste
to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah
and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting,
the infant leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said,
“Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled.”

And Mary said:
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
and has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children forever.”

Mary remained with her about three months
and then returned to her home.
1. “The last enemy to be destroyed is death” (I Corinthians 15:26)

Saint Paul’s words in the Second Reading of today’s Mass help us to understand the solemnity that we are celebrating today. The Resurrection of Jesus from the tomb, his victory over death, which came into the world because of Adam’s sin (and the sins of everyone since the creation of the world who has chosen to “do what I please, even if I know it’s not what God wants”) –Christ’s victor shines forth especially in Mary, his mother, who was assumed into Heaven at the end of her life on earth. It is Christ the “new Adam” who has conquered death, offering himself as a sacrifice on the cross at Calvary, in loving obedience to the will of the Father. At the same time, he redeems us, his brothers and sisters in the flesh, from our slavery to sin and evil. In the Virgin’s triumph, the Church venerates the woman the eternal Father chose as the Mother of his Only-begotten Son, associating her intimately with the salvation of the human race.

That is why, as today’s liturgy points out, Mary is a sign of our hope, the consolation of sinners. Looking up to her, raised into heaven amid the joys of the angelic host, human life, marked by lights and shadows, is given a glimpse of the horizon of the eternal kingdom to which we are called. While the experiences of our daily life causes us to feel tangibly that our earthly pilgrimage is a struggle between God’s will for us, and our desire to give in to the temptations of the world and the flesh, the Assumption offers us the assurance that we will never lack the heavenly help of the Mother of Jesus, who is also our mother.

2. “A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun” (Revelation 12:1)

On this day, a great sign appears to us from heaven: the Virgin Mother! The sacred author of the Book of Revelation speaks to us of her in the First Reading. An extraordinary event appears to our wondering eyes: Accustomed to looking a earthbound realities, we are invited to lift our gaze toward the heavens, to the eternal home to which we are called, and where the Blessed Mother awaits us.

Perhaps more than ever in the past, the men and women of the late 20th and early 21st century are consumed by material concerns and interests. We seek peace and security, but instead, we often feel lonely and anxious, not only about the trials and tribulations of this life, but the prospect that this life will be coming to an end, on a day and at an hour we cannot predict. The Assumption of Mary is an event that concerns us precisely because every human person is destined to die, but death is not the last word. The mystery of the Assumption of Mary assures us that death is the passage to the fullness of life, the encounter with divine Love. It is the gateway to the heavenly bliss in store for all who strive to follow Christ.

3. “Henceforth, all generations will call me blessed” (Luke 1:48)

This is what the Mother of Christ exclaimed when she was greeted by Elisabeth, her elderly kinswoman. Once again the Gospel presents us with the magnificent words of the Magnificat, Our Lady’s response to Elizabeth’s prophetic words: “Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” (Luke 1:45)

In Mary, this promise is fulfilled: the Mother of Christ is blessed, and we, her children, will also be blessed, if, like her, we listen to and put into practice the Lord’s words. May Mary, the Virgin-mother of the Savior, whom today we contemplate in splendor at the right hand of her divine Son, help us to live in the faith and hope that the word spoken by the Lord will be fulfilled in us . May Mary, “the joy of heaven and earth”, watch over and pray for us and for the whole world, now and forevermore. Amen.


Cammie Novara said...

"Then the dragon stood before the woman about to give birth,
to devour her child when she gave birth." It's such an astounding quote I may use it as my forum signature. There's a really fascinating debate that I thought would be of interest on evolution vs. intelligent design going on at

Fr. John L. Sullivan said...

Cammie, since Catholic theology considers that the universe is the work of God, "who is all good and deserving of all our love" an interesting question is raised: "What is the positive role of Satan (represented by the dragon in Sunday's first reading) in the intelligent design of the Creator?