Thursday, August 14, 2014
Solemnity, ASSUMPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
August 15, 2014
Friday 19th Week in Ordinary Time
[Solemnity, ASSUMPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY]
Vigil: 1 Chr 15: 3-4, 15-16; 16:1-2 / Ps 132: 6-7, 9-10, 13-14/ 1 Cor 15: 54b-57 / Lk 11: 27-28
Day: Rv 11: 19a; 12: 1-6a, 10ab / Ps 45: 10, 11, 12, 16 / 1 Cor 15: 20-27 / Lk 1: 39-56
Reading: Rv 11:19a; 12: 1-6a, 10ab
Then the sanctuary of God in the heavens was opened, and the Ark of the Covenant of God could be seen inside the sanctuary. A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman, clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain, looking to her time of delivery. Then another sign appeared: a huge, red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and wearing seven crowns on its heads. It had just swept along a third of the stars of heaven with its tail, throwing them down to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour the child as soon as it was born. She gave birth to a male child, the one who is to rule all the nations with an iron scepter; then her child was seized and taken up to God and to his throne while the woman fled to the desert where God had prepared a place for her. Then I heard a loud voice from heaven: Now has salvation come, with the power and the kingdom of our God, and the rule of his anointed.
Gospel: Luke 1: 39-56
Mary then set out for a town in the Hills of Judah. She entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leapt in her womb. Elizabeth was filled with holy spirit, and giving a loud cry, said, "You are most blessed among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb! How is it that the mother of my Lord comes to me? The moment your greeting sounded in my ears, the baby within me suddenly leapt for joy. Blessed are you who believed that the Lord's word would come true!" And Mary said: "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit exults in God my savior! He has looked upon his servant in her lowliness, and people forever will call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, Holy is his Name! From age to age his mercy extends to those who live in his presence. He has acted with power and done wonders, and scattered the proud with their plans. He has put down the mighty from their thrones and lifted up those who are downtrodden. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He held out his hand to Israel, his servant, for he remembered his mercy, even as he promised our fathers, Abraham and his descendants forever." Mary remained with Elizabeth about three months and then returned home.
It is interesting to note what Pope Pius XII said in 1950, when he defined the dogma on the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary: "Having completed the course of her earthly life, Mary was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory." This is significant because while there are those who hold that she died before being assumed into heaven, there are also those - largely from the Eastern Church - who believe that she merely went into a deep slumber (dormition). The dogma actually accommodates both ways of understanding the Assumption. But regardless of what form or manner our Lady departed from her earthly life, what matters really is that when she came to the end of her life, she was taken body and soul to where God is. This is what we are celebrating today.
In the 70s, there was a German musical somewhat similar to the rock opera "Jesus Christ Superstar." It was named "Ave Eva," an obvious pun on Ave, referring to Mary, and Eva to Eve. Central theme was on Mary as the new Eve in contrast to the original Eve, the mother of humanity. One of the songs beautifully narrates a legend of the apostles going to her tomb, and not finding her there save for a bed of sweet smelling roses. And that made them believe she had been taken up to heaven. The singers eventually break into "Ave, Eva, Ave, Du neue Eva..." (Hail, Eva, you the new Eva), thus extolling Mary.
In our gospel today, Mary breaks into the song of the Magnificat, extolling the goodness and bounty of God who gave her the most unique privilege of becoming the mother of our Lord. She does make reference to the honor bestowed on her, and yet she humbly considers it as God's blessing not exclusively for her but for the lowliest of people with whom she identifies herself. The same can be said of her rare distinction of being assumed into heaven. It is a foretaste of our own rising from the dead and a homecoming in heaven. We are one with her in this regard. Unlike her though, we will not be brought body and soul into heaven when we pass away from our lives on earth. But our faith tells us that our mortal bodies will rise at the end of the world. And Mary's assumption is one assurance of this, because she is one of us, not apart from us.
When we are beset by woes and concerns in life, as Mary was in being mother to our Lord, we could take consolation and solace in her words from the Magnificat, that "the Lord lifts up the downtrodden, and satisfies the needy with good things." And that in the end, all shall be well as we move like her to our final destination in heaven.
We pray ...
... for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the unborn
... for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary
... for families who are in need of healing
... 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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