August 15: Assumption. Readings: 1. Apocalypse 11:19,12:1-6,10; Psalm: 45B; 2. 1 Corinthians 15:20-26; Gospel: Luke 1:39-56.
This special day of celebration in New Zealand honours Our Lady’s Assumption into heaven. And the readings fittingly prepare us to grasp the significance of this feast.
The heavenly scene in today’s text from the book of Revelation indicates that the setting is none other than God’s domain. From there, God rules absolutely everything. And the woman standing at its centre is a treasured figure. She and her child are, without question, essential to the kingdom being revealed. Her offspring is the Messiah exercising supreme authority in heaven and on earth. This woman is our mother too.
Having taken her place alongside her enthroned son, her status within our faith tradition is utterly special.
Paul’s keenly-honed words to the church of Corinth sum up the significance of the risen Christ and his human lineage. They highlight the powerful impact of Christ’s coming to birth as one like us. And even though his mother is not mentioned, the early Church would have recognised in her the holy one who gave birth to the Christ child destined to be hailed king of heaven and earth.
When today in Luke, Mary is greeted by Elizabeth, she is heralded as the mother of the Lord. And her song in response praises God, the source of all blessing. What is therefore revealed early in Luke’s Gospel is Mary’s role in the most extraordinary event of human history. Her place in the early Church’s life necessarily takes on a superior significance. By her noted holiness and commitment to her son, she outranks all ordinary
human beings. So, this Gospel moment is a truly striking witness to her unique standing in our faith tradition.
On this day marking Mary’s Assumption into heaven, our esteem for her is naturally heightened. She ranks highly because of who she is to us