The Assumption Revelation 11:19; 12: 1-6 & 10; 1 Cor 15; 20-26; Luke 1: 39-56
‘Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of all who have fallen asleep... just as all men die in Adam, so all men will be brought to life in Christ; but all of them in their proper order.”
Salvation, for St Paul, is an established fact rather than a devout hope for the future. “Christ has died! Christ is risen! Christ will come again!” What was begun in Christ is the daily unfolding of our lives. We are not mere spectators. Christ lives in us. As our lives unfold there is the daily death that turns away from sin, the daily resurrection that embraces life in Christ. We never stand still. Each day leads us forward to the conclusion of all things, the final victory of the Father’s grace when we, and the whole of creation, shall be renewed in Christ.
The Feast of the Assumption celebrates Mary who has entered into the fullness of her Son’s resurrection. It also reminds us that we, who share the life of her Son, will one day stand with Mary, rejoicing in his Risen Life.
The journey to that fullness will not always be easy. The Book of Revelation sketches the darkness that threatens faith. Its imagery is truly shocking. A woman, adorned with the sun, standing on the moon, is in labour, about to give birth. At the very moment when life beckons, death threatens to extinguish all hope. “The dragon stopped in front of the woman as she was having the child, so that he could eat it as soon as it was born from its mother.” We might find it difficult to relate to such imagery, but a moment’s reflection should convince us of the truth that it describes. The Father graces each and every day of our lives. As we are formed in the likeness of his Son, his love and goodness are brought to birth within us. Because we are sinful there are other forces at work within us. Like the dragon in John’s vision, our inner darkness stands ready to overwhelm the light of God’s presence. The conclusion of the vision assures us that the Grace of God is greater than our darkness. The Woman escapes to safety and her Son is brought to the throne of God. The Assumption of Mary celebrates this victory, promising that the victory of her Son is also our victory.
The Gospel brings together Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist. Together they rejoiced in the wonder of God’s life at work within them. The child in Elizabeth’s womb, moved by the Holy Spirit, leapt for joy. Mary rejoiced in God her Saviour, proclaiming that in her nothingness God’s Son had come to her. On this feast of the Assumption we celebrate the conclusion of what was begun in Mary when she consented to the love of the Father.
Today we celebrate the completion of God’s love in Mary. Once again we are not mere spectators. Day by day the Father’s grace invites us to welcome his Son. Day by day we are formed in his likeness. One day we shall share in the fullness of his risen life.
The Week Ahead
Divine Office Week IV Monday, August 15: St Tarsicius (feria) Judg 2:11-19; Ps 105; Mt 19:16-22 Tuesday, August 16: St Stephen of Hungary (om) Judg 6:11-24; Ps 84; Mt 19:23-30 Wednesday, August 17: St Clare of Montefalco (feria) Judg 9:6-15; Ps 20; Mt 20:1-16 Thursday, August 18: St Helena (feria) Judg 11:29-39; Ps 39; Mt 22:1-14 Friday, August 19: St John Eudes (om) Ruth 1:1..3-6.14-16.22; Ps 145; Mt 22:34-40 Saturday, August 20: St Bernard Ruth 2:1-3. 8-11; 4;13-17; Ps 127; Mt 23:1-12