August 15, 2016

Mary's Assumption

August 15, 2016:  Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

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Legend below

*v: vigil readings; d: daytime readings
Pope Francis Assumption Angelus
Mary's Assumption is a great mystery that pertains to all of us, regarding our future.  This humble girl's exultation, expressed in the Magnificat, becomes the song of all.  We're pleased to see the Lord reach down to everyone and take them with him into heaven.
Mary's canticle also leads us to think about sad situations, in particular women overwhelmed by life and violence, women enslaved to the arrogance of the powerful, girls forced into inhumane work, and women forced to surrender to men's avarice.  May they soon begin a life of peace, justice, and love, waiting for the day they feel grasped by hands that don't humiliate but with tenderness lift and guide them through life to heaven.  Mary, a girl who suffered so much, makes us think of these women who suffer so much.  We ask the Lord to lead them, and free them from slavery.

  • 1 Chr 15:3-4, 15-16; 16:1-2  David assembled Israel to bring the ark of the Lord to the place prepared for it.  He had chanters appointed to make loud sounds of rejoicing.  They brought the ark in, made offerings to God, then David blessed the people in God's name.
  • Ps 132:6-7, 9-10, 13-14  "Lord, go up to the place of your rest, you and the ark of your holiness."  Enter his dwelling and worship, clothed with justice....
  • 1 Cor 15:54b-57  When the mortal is clothed with immortality, the word shall come about:  Death is swallowed up in victory.  Death, where is your victory?  Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through Christ.
  • Lk 11:27-28  A woman from the crowd / Jesus:  “Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts that nursed you.” / “Rather, blessed are those who hear and keep God's word.”
  • Rv 11:19a; 12:1-6a, 10ab  Signs:  ark, sun-clothed stars-crowned woman, moon under feet, with child, wailing, laboring; 7-headed 10-horned dragon with diadems; tail hurled stars; stood before woman to devour child.  Bore son, destined to rule, caught up to God.  “Salvation, power, God's Kingdom, Anointed's authority have come.”
  • Ps 45:10-12, 16  "The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold."
  • 1 Cor 15:20-27  Death and resurrection both came through man.  As in Adam all die, in Christ all shall be brought to life.  He must reign till he has put all his enemies under his feet.  The last one to be destroyed is death.
  • Lk 1:39-56  Mary traveled to Zechariah's house and greeted Elizabeth.  When Elizabeth heard her greeting, the infant leaped, and Elizabeth cried, “Blessed are you and the fruit of your womb.  Blessed are you who believed what the Lord told you would be fulfilled.”  Mary:  “Magnificat:  I proclaim God's greatness.  All will call me blessed:  God has done great things; holy his name.  He has mercy, has shown strength, scattered the proud, cast down the mighty, lifted up the lowly, filled the hungry, sent away the rich, helped Israel, and remembered his promise of mercy.”
    • Creighton:  The earliest Christians believed that Mary was assumed into heaven, body and soul.  There was a tomb and a veneration of the place where Mary went to her final sleep; the Dormitatio is still considered sacred in Jerusalem.  In 472 a request was made to have Mary's bones moved to Constantinople for permanent veneration there; when the tomb was opened, nothing remained.  This fortified the belief that Mary’s body, like her Son's, was taken up into heaven.
    The "woman" of the 1st reading is not Mary but Israel who would mother the Messiah, and the child is not Jesus but Moses who had been saved in the Nile from the Dragon, Leviathan.  Revelation is the study of how the stars and planets reveal the struggle between good and evil, between God and human selfishness, to be won by the Messiah.
    Maesta (Death of the Virgin)/ Duccio
    We don't have a biblical foundation for the Assumption.  Our belief in the Assumption is “fact-faith”; it was held early as a fact and handed across to us as a tradition ('hand-across').  We celebrate Mary's fidelity to what she believed, and we believe we too will be raised.
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Assuming our assumption?"  The English 'assumption' is perhaps an unfortunate translation of assumptio (Latin:  be taken up).  All Christians will be assumed to meet Jesus when he comes at the end of the world.  We generally assume we'll be assumed, but it might be a false assumption if we don't believe in Jesus and love him with our whole hearts.  If we're open to Mary, she'll lay our thoughts bare and make sure we have no false assumptions about our assumption.
      Assumption of the Virgin
    • Passionist:  This feast has been celebrated since the fifth century.  As the Ark of the Covenant carried the tablets of the Law, so Mary carried the Messiah, the Son of God.  As Israel was the glory of God and the Messiah a descendant of David, so Mary brought forth Jesus....  Paul celebrates the resurrection of Christ, the first fruit to be followed by all who belong to him.  Mary, his mother and closest follower, didn't have to wait.  The Son's glory is also the Mother's.  When Mary visited Elizabeth, she reveals her heart in her Magnificat prayer; she senses the greatness of God, her Savior, who has looked on her and in his mercy done great things for her.  Do I recognize the great things God has done for me and praise and thank him daily?
    •  "My spirit rejoices in God my Savior":  Mary is a model of faith and hope; she's among the first-fruits of all who belong to Jesus and share in his triumph.  An ancient tradition church marks Mary's "falling asleep" (called Dormition in Eastern churches) and heavenly birthday when she was received into heaven, a sign of Jesus' promise that we would also be received into paradise.  The Holy Spirit enabled Mary to grow in faith and persevere in hope.  When Elizabeth and Mary greeted one another, they were filled with the Spirit and joyful anticipation of the fulfillment of God's promise of a Savior.  John the Baptist pointed to his coming, leaping for joy in his mother's womb as the Spirit revealed the Anointed's presence in Mary's womb.  The Spirit is God's gift to us to enable us to know and experience God's presence and power.  Mary accepted her mission with faith and obedience; she acted with trust because she believed God would fulfill the word he spoke.  Her Magnificat echoes Hannah's song, proclaiming God's favor....
      Mary's Assumption
    • Universalis:  The commemoration of Mary's death is known as her Assumption because of the tradition that her body didn't decay but was raised up.  The tradition was present in the 6th century and was widespread by the start of the 20th.
    Dress legend
    • Mary/Elizabeth/Magnificat pin (gospel d)
    • 'Treble clef' tie bar:  David commanded Levite chiefs to appoint chanters, to play on musical instruments... (1st reading v)
    • 'Crown' tie bar:  Woman in sky wore 12-star crown; dragon had 7 diadems on its heads (1st reading d)
    • 'Shooting star' tie pin:  Woman's crown; hurled stars (1st reading d)
    • 'Sun' pin:  woman clothed with the sun (1st reading d)
    • 'Signs' tie:  'Signs' in the sky:  woman/sun/moon/stars, dragon (1st reading d)
    • 'Precious feet' pin:  Christ must reign till all enemies are under his feet.  (2nd reading d)
    • Gold-colored accessories:  "The queen stands ... arrayed in gold." (psalm d)
      • 'Clocks' suspenders:  Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months (gospel d)
      • Crucifix pin:  In Christ all shall be brought to life (1st reading d); death and resurrection through Jesus (2nd reading d)
      • White and blue shirt, blue cuff links:  for liturgical and "Mary's" colors

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