August 15, 2017
Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The Gospel Today
Mary set out
and traveled to the hill country in haste
to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah
and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting,
the infant leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said,
“Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled.”
And Mary said:
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
and has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children forever.”
Mary remained with her about three months
and then returned to her home.
REFLECTION (Sem. John Paul S. Adia)
Mary, the new Ark of the Covenant; the new tabernacle; the Sacred Vessel of God, is remembered because she was privileged to assume to heaven with her body and soul as handed down by our Christian Tradition since the time of the apostles and early Christians. Our belief will be nothing without the center of her faith – the fruit of her womb – who is Jesus Christ. She kept her fiat, her yes, to God and was humbled by the proclamation of angel Gabriel that she was chosen as the Mother of God. Her motherhood will be nothing without Jesus. She herself will be nothing without Jesus. And so, that is the center of the profession of St. Elizabeth when she saw Mary and she felt that the baby in her womb leapt: “Blessed is the fruit of your womb…” (Luke 1:42). The response of Mary, despite that majestic rejoicing of her motherhood, is very inspiring, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord… for He has looked with favor on His lowly servant…” (Luke 1:46, 48). She returns the glory to God who is the main agent of such a wonderful event. Mary is then favored for keeping that attitude and enjoyed the first fruit of God’s redemption by her assumption to heaven.
As I reflect on it, there will be times that we are privileged to receive blessings from God. A grace that can magnify His majesty. But sometimes we ought to direct this glory towards ourselves rather than returning it to God. My skills, for example, are graces that can magnify God’s majesty and providence. Playing the piano every mass gives that wonderful feeling that I made the mass so beautiful. But no, my skill in playing is nothing without the true center of the celebration, Jesus who made the sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins and who instituted the Holy Eucharist itself. That is why, whenever I receive appreciation from other people with regards to my playing, I am constantly reminding myself that God used me and my skill to help people glorify God. This is also true with my identity as seminarian. I am carrying a divine presence not because I am holy or sinless, in fact I am not, but because God himself makes His presence being felt. May God be praised at all times.