Normally this Sunday we would celebrate the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time. However because this weekend we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Mass of dedication for the Basilica, we have received permission to use the readings from the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven. Please click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser for these readings.
The Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven celebrates our belief that Mary’s body, because she was the mother of Jesus Christ, did not suffer the corruption of death. Rather, because of her unique role in God’s plan of salvation, we believe that Mary now shares eternal life with God in heaven body and soul. While some may wonder about this belief, it is for us, as Catholics, both a sign and a promise of the destiny that awaits all of us who believe in and seek to follow Jesus Christ.
Our Gospel for this feast records Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth, and Mary’s song of praise (the Magnificat) for the wonders that God has done for her: “for his has looked with favor on his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed.” Clearly Mary was aware of God’s gracious favor to her. In this she is a model for us. Because of this she is truly: “Blessed among Women.”
Our first reading for this feast is taken from the Book of Revelation. The book of Revelation is apocalyptic literature. It is highly stylized and filled with vivid images and symbolic language. It was meant to convey hope to a people experiencing trials or difficulties. The section we read today tells us that “a great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon beneath her feet…….” We are told that a dragon also appeared and “stood before the woman about to give birth, to devour her child when she gave birth.” But “her child was caught up by God ………..and the woman fled into the desert where she had a place prepared by God.” This vivid language is meant to remind us that God is charge and will always have the final word.
Our second reading this weekend is from 1Corinthians 15: 20-27. It reminds us that Christ is the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep, and that “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.’”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
- Many years ago on retreat my director asked me to compose my own hymn of praise to God --- my own Magnificat --- for all that God had done for me. It was a marvelous experience. What would you include in your hymn of praise to God?
- In light of what would happen in her life some people might question why Mary could call herself blessed. How would you respond to these people?
- Why would Paul refer to death as the “enemy”?