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 38

Antiphon

My hope is in you, O Lord.

I said :'I will be watchful of my ways
for fear I should sin with my tongue.

I will put a curb on my lips
when the wicked man stands before me.'

I was dumb, silent and still.
His prosperity stirred my grief.

My heart was burning within me.
At the thought of it, the fire blazed up
and my tongue burst into speech:

'O Lord, you have shown me my end,
how short is the length of my days
Now I know how fleeting is my life.

You have given me a short span of days;
my life is as nothing in your sight.

A mere breath, the man who stood so firm,
a mere shadow, the man passing bay,

a mere breath the riches he hoards,
not knowing who will have them'.

And now Lord, what is there to wait for?
In you rests all my hope.

Set me free from all my sins,
do not make me the taunt of the fool.

I was silent, not opening my lips,
because this was all your doing.

Take away your scourge from me.
I am crushed by the blows of your hand

You punish man's sins and correct him;
like the moth you devour all he treasures.

Mortal man is no more than a breath;
O Lord, hear my prayer.

O Lord, turn your ear to my cry.
Do not be deaf to my tears.

In your house I am a passing guest,
a pilgrim, like all my fathers.

Look away that I may breathe again
before I depart to be no more.

Second Reading

1 Corinthians 15,10-26

but what I am now, I am through the grace of God, and the grace which was given to me has not been wasted. Indeed, I have worked harder than all the others -- not I, but the grace of God which is with me. Anyway, whether it was they or I, this is what we preach and what you believed. Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you be saying that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ cannot have been raised either, and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is without substance, and so is your faith. What is more, we have proved to be false witnesses to God, for testifying against God that he raised Christ to life when he did not raise him -- if it is true that the dead are not raised. For, if the dead are not raised, neither is Christ; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is pointless and you have not, after all, been released from your sins. In addition, those who have fallen asleep in Christ are utterly lost. If our hope in Christ has been for this life only, we are of all people the most pitiable. 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.

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. The liturgy made us hear the Gospel of the visitation telling the days in which 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. She was the first believer who welcomed the Word of God, and now she is the first to be assumed into heaven. She was the first person to take Jesus in her arms when he was still a child, and now she is the first to be taken into the arms of the Son to be assumed into heaven. Because she welcomed the Gospel, a humble girl from a village that was lost on the edges of the empire has become the first citizen of heaven, assumed by God and placed beside the throne of the Son. Truly, the Lord has pulled the powerful down from their thrones and raised up the lowly. The mystery we are celebrating today is great indeed. It is Mary's mystery, but also it is the mystery of each one of us, and the very mystery of history. In fact, all those who bind their lives to the Son as Mary did will follow her on the path opened up by her assumption.
Mary and Christ, intimately connected to each other, are the highest sign of goodness and salvation that always fight against evil, the dragon described in the book of Revelation. 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.