Sunday, August 14, 2005



AUGUST 15, 2005

REVELATION 11:19; 12:1-6, 10
A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with
the moon beneath 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."

1 CORINTHIANS 15:20-27
Brothers and sisters: 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 upon
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 for ever." Mary remained with her
about three months and then returned to her home.

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven reminds us of our
final destiny, our union with God. The Virgin Mary is the first to
enter fully, body and soul, into communion with God. Today's Gospel
reading reflects on the holiness of Mary, which made it possible for
her to be assumed into heaven. Mary's holiness ought to be understood
in relation to her vocation as Mother of the Redeemer, by which she
participates in his work of redemption. St. Elizabeth, Mary's cousin,
under the guidance of the Holy Spirit recognizes the holiness of Mary
with the words: "Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit
of your womb." Mary is blessed among all women because she is full of
grace. She is full of God's presence and this sanctifies her and
consecrates her exclusively to God. The Assumption of Mary reminds us
of our call to a life of holiness in Jesus Christ.

Today's Gospel reading emphasizes Marian devotion. Mary
prophesizes, "All generations will call me blessed." With these words,
the Mother of the Redeemer prefigures the devotion and the veneration
that will honor her for her faithful service to God's plan. The late
Pope Paul VI expressed well the truth regarding Marian devotion: "The
Church's devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian
worship." The Catechism of the Catholic Church reaffirms this truth by
restating Vatican II: "The Church
rightly honors 'the Blessed Virgin with special devotion. From the most
ancient times the Blessed Virgin has been honored with the title of
'Mother of God,' to whose protection the faithful fly in all their
dangers and needs." For these reasons, Marian devotion is not something
invented by Catholicism but is deeply rooted in Sacred Scripture and
Tradition. All Christians ought to cultivate in their
personal lives a mature devotion to the Mother of the Redeemer.

The Feast of the Assumption invites us to believe in the promises of
the Lord. Mary believed. Due to her firm faith in God's promises, she
now enjoys the presence of God in heaven. Every Christian walks the
journey of faith in this life with the hope to one day be where Mary
the Mother of the Redeemer now is. This faith that Mary possessed is a
faith of obedience. This means she listened to the word of God in her
heart and submitted freely to the Word knowing that God guaranteed the
veracity of what she heard, who is Truth itself. The Catechism of the
Catholic Church reminds us of the depth of Mary's faith: "Throughout
her life and until her last ordeal when Jesus her son died on the
cross, Mary's faith never wavered. She never ceased to believe in the
fulfillment of God's word. And so the Church venerates in Mary the
purest realization of faith." The Assumption of Mary invites all the
faithful to believe in God's goodness and love until the very end of
our lives.

"Lord, fill me with your Holy Spirit and give me joy in seeking you
more closely. Increase my faith in all your promises, my hope in the
joys of heaven, and my love for You as my All."

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