Monday, August 17, 2009
This is the 100th post in this blog. It is dedicated to the Assumption of Mary Mother of God. The post contains excerpts* from the homily of Most Rev. Archbishop Thomas Collins** in the Mass of the Solemnity of the Assumption which took place at St. Michael's Cathedral this past Saturday - It was also the ordination Mass of our friend Mounir El-Rassi to the priesthood.
[God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple. A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth. Then another sign appeared in the sky; it was a huge red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on its heads were seven diadems. Its tail swept away a third of the stars in the sky and hurled them down to the earth. Then the dragon stood before the woman about to give birth, to devour her child when she gave birth. She gave birth to a son, a male child, destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod. Her child was caught up to God and his throne.The woman herself fled into the desert where she had a place prepared by God....Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have salvation and power come, and the Kingdom of our God and the authority of his Anointed One.”] (Revelation 11: 19a; 12: 1-6a; 10 ab) This reading from Apocalypse is a reference to the sign of the woman whose son was destined to rule the nations. She, like any other human, had to escape into the desert in order to deliver her son. She has to suffer like the Israelites suffered in the desert before the glory of her Son should shine. This is Mary the mother of Jesus Christ, crowned with twelve stars referring to the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve apostles of her Son and God. She is clothed with the sun and the moon is under her feet. That is how the Second Eve brought us salvation after the First Eve brought us the curse. The dragon, that is Satan, lured the First Eve into disobedience, and wanted to lead the Second Eve into disobedience too. But Mary, reminds us Luke, said “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” Mary, like her Son, was assumed to heaven because she surrendered all her life to the will of God. It is because she was willing to give her life to God that he was born of her. This is our mission too: To surrender ourselves, as Mary did, to God. Today, when we are faced with challenges to our faith, let us follow Mary in her path for we want to hear the angel in our midst “Now have salvation and power come, and the Kingdom of our God and the authority of his Anointed One.”
* The excerpts are my own paraphrasing of parts of the homily.
** Archbishop Thomas Collins is a well-known Biblical Scholar.