Feast of the Assumption

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Feast of the Assumption


First Reading

Revelation 11,19; 12,1-6.10

Then the sanctuary of God in heaven opened, and the ark of the covenant could be seen inside it. Then came flashes of lightning, peals of thunder and an earthquake and violent hail. Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman, robed with the sun, standing on the moon, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant, and in labour, crying aloud in the pangs of childbirth. Then a second sign appeared in the sky: there was a huge red dragon with seven heads and ten horns, and each of the seven heads crowned with a coronet. Its tail swept a third of the stars from the sky and hurled them to the ground, and the dragon stopped in front of the woman as she was at the point of giving birth, so that it could eat the child as soon as it was born. The woman was delivered of a boy, the son who was to rule all the nations with an iron sceptre, and the child was taken straight up to God and to his throne, while the woman escaped into the desert, where God had prepared a place for her to be looked after for twelve hundred and sixty days. Then I heard a voice shout from heaven, 'Salvation and power and empire for ever have been won by our God, and all authority for his Christ, now that the accuser, who accused our brothers day and night before our God, has been brought down.

Psalmody

Psalm 44

Antiphon

Let us sing to the Lord, our God and our King.

My heart overflows with noble words.
To the king I must speak the song I have made;
my tongue as nimble as the pen of a scribe.

You are the fairest of the children of men
and graciousness is poured upon your lips :
because God has blessed you for evermore.

O mighty one, gird your sword upon your thigh;
in splendour and state, ride on in triumph
for the cause of truth and goodness and right.

Take aim with your bow in your dread right hand.
Your arrows are sharp : peoples fall beneath you.
The foes of the king fall down and lose heart.

Your throne, O God, shall endure for ever.
A sceptre of justice is the sceptre of your kingdom.
Your love is for justice; your hatred for evil.

Therefore God, your God, has anointed you
with the oil of gladness above other kings :
your robes are fragrant with aloes and myrrh.

From the ivory palace you are greeted with music.
The daughters of kings are among your loved ones.
On your right stands the queen gold of Ophir.

Listen, O daughter, give ear to my words :
forget your own people and your father's house.

So will the king desire your beauty :
He is your lord, pay homage to him.

And the people of Tyre shall come with gifts,
the richest of the people shall seek your favour.

The daughter of the king is clothed with splendour,
her robes embroidered with pearls set in gold.

She is led to the king with her maiden companions.
They are escorted amid gladness and joy;
they pass within the palace of the king.

Sons shall be yours in place of your fathers :
you will make them princes over all the earth.

Make this song make you name for ever remembered
May the peoples praise you from age to age.

Second Reading

1 Corinthians 15,20-27

In fact, however, Christ has been raised from the dead, as the first-fruits of all who have fallen asleep. As it was by one man that death came, so through one man has come the resurrection of the dead. Just as all die in Adam, so in Christ all will be brought to life; but all of them in their proper order: Christ the first-fruits, and next, at his coming, those who belong to him. After that will come the end, when he will hand over the kingdom to God the Father, having abolished every principality, every ruling force and power. For he is to be king until he has made his enemies his footstool, and the last of the enemies to be done away with is death, for he has put all things under his feet. But when it is said everything is subjected, this obviously cannot include the One who subjected everything to him.

Reading of the Gospel

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 1,39-56

Mary set out at that time and went as quickly as she could into the hill country to a town in Judah. She went into Zechariah's house and greeted Elizabeth. Now it happened that as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She gave a loud cry and said, 'Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord? Look, the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy. Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.' And Mary said: My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour; because he has looked upon the humiliation of his servant. Yes, from now onwards all generations will call me blessed, for the Almighty has done great things for me. Holy is his name, and his faithful love extends age after age to those who fear him. He has used the power of his arm, he has routed the arrogant of heart. He has pulled down princes from their thrones and raised high the lowly. He has filled the starving with good things, sent the rich away empty. He has come to the help of Israel his servant, mindful of his faithful love -according to the promise he made to our ancestors -- of his mercy to Abraham and to his descendants for ever. Mary stayed with her some three months and then went home.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Homily

In the heart of the month of August, the Churches of the East and the West together celebrate the feast of the Assumption of Mary to heaven. In the Eastern Church, it is said that as the day of Mary's earthly end approached, the angels warned the apostles scattered throughout the world, and they immediately gathered around the bed of the mother of Jesus. We read in the Gospel of Luke that Mary ""set out at that time and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country." In those days, Mary hurried from Galilee to a town near Jerusalem in order to visit her cousin Elizabeth. Today, we see her hurry towards the mountain of the heavenly Jerusalem to encounter at last the face of the Father and of the Son. It must be said that Mary never left her son's side during her earthly life. We saw her fleeing to Egypt with the little Jesus, then she brought him as a teenager to Jerusalem, and then for thirty years she watched over him daily in Nazareth, keeping everything in her heart. She then followed him when he left Galilee in order to preach in every town and village. She was with him at the foot of the cross.
Today we see her reach the mountain of God, "clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars," (Rev 12:1) and enter into heaven, through the heavenly Jerusalem. The Apocalypse rips open the sky of history where good and evil confront each other: on one side the woman and her son, on the other the red crowned dragon. Christian reading has seen in this page the figure of Mary (image of the Church) and Christ. Mary and Christ, intimately connected to each other, are the highest sign of goodness and salvation. On the other side the dragon, monstrous symbol of violence is red like the blood it sheds, drunk with power (the crowned heads). Mary with Jesus are the new "couple" that saves the world. At the beginning of history, Adam and Eve were defeated by the evil one; in the fullness of time the new Adam and the new Eve defeat the enemy once and for all. Yes, with Jesus' victory over evil, even death, both physical and interior, is defeated. The resurrection of the Son and the assumption of Mary stand out clearly against the horizon of history.