Monday, August 14, 2006
Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary
August 15, 2006
Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary
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
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."
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.
Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Mary's Assumption, that Mary did
not suffer physical corruption after her death and was taken body and
soul upon her death into heaven. What is the significance of this
In our technological age, we have advanced so much in our scientific
knowledge. We have explored the outer space of the galaxies, and the
inner space of atoms, electrons, neutrons and so on. We have made so
much advances in genetic engineering that we can clone and alter
natural offspring. We have made great advances in psychological and
human sciences that we can brainwash and make people crazy.
But when it comes to living our lives, our chief need is to find
somebody who will inspire us to do what we know we should do, a role
model. And that is the role of a friend, a spouse, or a parent. As
Christians we might add that this is also the role of Mary.
As we look on the life of Mary, the first thing we find in Mary's life
is suffering. Mary's suffering began when she was asked to bear a son
before being married to Joseph, her fiancé. In other words, she was
asked to be an unwed mother. The anxieties in her heart - would Joseph
still accept her, when he finds out that she's already pregnant? If the
public finds out, will she be stoned to death in public?
Later, when she and Joseph took the child Jesus to the Temple. There,
the holy man Simeon said of Jesus: "Behold, this child is destined for
the fall and the rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be
contradicted." Turning to Mary he said, "And sorrow, like a sharp
sword, will pierce your own heart."
Suffering continued in Mary's life when in later years she saw the
opposition grow against Jesus.
Finally, her suffering reached its peak when she stood beneath the
crucified body of her son on Calvary. Mary bore her suffering with
courage and with patience. And that's where she becomes a source of
inspiration to us. She inspires us to bear our suffering as
courageously and patiently as she did.
This brings us to the second thing that we find in Mary's life. It's
the spirit of service to others. The spirit manifested itself when the
angel Gabriel announced that she was to be the mother of the Son of
God. Her answer was short and to the point: "Behold, I am the handmaid
of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word."
Mary's spirit of service continued to manifest itself when she learned
of her cousin Elizabeth's pregnancy and went to help. Finally, that
spirit of service continued to manifest itself when Mary asked help
from Jesus for the young married couple at Cana. Mary was already there
to help at the reception in the first place.
Someone once said, "My life turned around when I stopped asking God to
do things for me and asked God what I could do for him." It is this
kind of spirit of service in Mary that inspires us to want to try to
serve as she did.
This brings us to the third thing that we find in Mary's life. It is a
spirit of profound prayerfulness. This spirit of prayerfulness is seen
in her prayer of praise to God. Mary offered this prayer called the
Magnificat right after learning that Elizabeth's child leaped in the
womb when she approached Elizabeth with Jesus in her womb.
Mary's spirit of prayerfulness continued at the birth of Jesus, when
the Gospel tells us that Mary "kept all these things [connected with
Jesus' birth] reflecting on them in her heart."
And it reached a special peak when the Acts of the Apostles relates
that she "devoted" herself "to prayer" with the Apostles in preparation
for the coming of the Holy Spirit.
Because of her prayerfulness, she was always ready to do the will of
God. That's why she was sinless, that's why she was taken body and soul
to heaven upon her death to be with God forever.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta once said, "Prayer enlarges the heart until
it is capable of containing God's gift of himself." This is what prayer
did for Mary. And this is what it can also do for us.
Mary inspires us to want to carry our cross patiently as she carried
hers. She inspires us to want to serve others generously and joyfully,
as she served them. Finally, she inspires us to pray regularly as she
It is in this regard we can confidently look to Mary as our
intercessor. We often ask friends, especially those we believe, who are
close to God to pray for us and for our intentions. Jesus himself
declared: "...If two of you join your voices on earth to pray for
anything whatever, it shall be granted you by my Father in heaven."
(Matt. 18: 19) Mary is the person most pleasing to God, a person who is
always ready to help us. Her prayers and intercessions will be most
pleasing to God. Who can be a better Advocate than Mary Our Mother?
And if we imitate Mary in these three things, of patiently carrying the
cross, of generous service, and of living a life of prayer, then we too
will rejoice with her someday in heaven in the presence of the Holy
Trinity, as she rejoices there now.
This is the message contained in today's feast. This is the good news
we celebrate together. This is the invitation that God extends to each
one of us in this liturgy.
We pray ...
-for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the unborn.
-for the personal intentions of Mary
-for thanksgiving of Lydia & Jennette
-for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
-In Memoriam (+): Tomas Ngo Tiong Tay
-for world peace and reconciliation.
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our
prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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