of Creighton University's Online Ministries
August 15th, 2011
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Our Lady’s Day in summer – so has the Feast of the Assumption been recognized in various parts of Europe for many years. In many ways this is the “Easter” of Marian feasts. As such it is also one of the most important feasts for us because it celebrates the reality of our Easter as well. It is true that the Church holds the feast of All Saints in November, but the mystery of the Assumption, the older and more densely theological feast is the celebration of the extension of the gift of the Resurrection to the human family.
This is the oldest continuously celebrated Marian feast. The fact that it has its own Vigil celebration (one of only six feasts in the Latin Church which include a distinct vigil liturgy) and that the readings are really about the promise of salvation for all of those who believe in Jesus, we see Mary here, not just standing for her own life and contribution to salvation (as glorious as that is) but we see her as the most perfect symbol of the Church – the God Bearer in history. Just as Mary bore Jesus in her womb, now Mother Church bears him in her womb – the baptismal font – to give new birth to Christ each time a person comes to the font to be reborn in Christ.
Thus the Church lives in Christ on earth still being transformed, and assumed into eternal joy. The Church announces the good news of God’s saving deeds and the character of God’s Kingdom coming to full realization on earth through the agency of the Spirit in the Church. The coming of the Kingdom means the upending of the reign of death; it means the systems of oppression, greed, violence and hatred will be cast down. The life of companionship, sharing goods, and the flourishing of the created order begun in Mary’s self donation, brought to fruition in Jesus’ mission, death and resurrection, and ultimately brought to fullness through the Spirit-led mission of the Church is celebrated today in this glorious late summer feast, replete with birth, home-coming, and harvest images in the wonderful texts and prayers of the liturgy.
When we see the failure of the institutional Church to be all that we should be, we must remember Mary remains the more authentic spokesperson for us than all the other membership and clergy leadership. In Mary’s Assumption we see what marvels God works in and through his most unworthy human servants. God will raise up in us the humanity that is reflected in Marian generosity and openness. Our souls our invited to see and proclaim with great joy the greatness of what God is doing in and through us – sometimes in the face of the resistance of our unfreedom. I want to spend some time today looking for the ways that the Lord has cast down the oppressive powers of my own heart and raised up the lowly goodness that also dwells there. Let’s together be fed by the bread of God’s compassion that assuages our hunger and relieves our terrible poverty – so that we might more fully become the agents for fulfilling the Divine promises to Abraham and all his children in this generation.
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit finds joy in God my Saviour!
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