Feast of the Assumption of Mary

“For nothing is impossible to God.”

These are the words of the angel Gabriel as he announces God‘s plan to Mary. These words express God’s activity throughout our salvation history, ie. God’s interacting with humanity.

In our Scripture today we see these words become a reality. In our first reading from the book of Revelation we have powerful images rich in meaning. The image is one of death, evil, sin, the devil – all being conquered through the birth of Jesus. Mary says yes to God‘s plan to be the vehicle of the Incarnation. The Incarnation is the fancy theological term for God becoming man. By doing so Jesus gave Himself in sacrifice on the Cross. This most powerful act of love brings eternal life to all who believe. This is represented in the image of our first reading. God is born of a woman and the birth conquers death. Eternal life is victorious over eternal damnation.

In our second reading, St Paul reminds us that Jesus Christ brings eternal life. Saint Paul reminds us of the great victory of Christ. “The last enemy to be destroyed his death “. St Paul reminds us of Jesus being raised from the dead. We may take this as a matter of fact and faith. We may consider it strange to need such a reminder of something that is at the core of our creed. However, St. Paul is pointing out the startling reality that this was absolutely unexpected. Jesus was crucified. Who would have expected the Resurrection? Certainly everyone would’ve said it would be not possible. And yet, recall the words of the angel Gabriel. “For nothing is impossible to God.”

In our Gospel today, we have Mary visiting her cousin Elizabeth. Both women are pregnant. Elizabeth is pregnant with unborn son John the Baptist. Mary is pregnant with unborn son Jesus. It is remarkable that Elizabeth was able to conceive. Remember the words of the angel Gabriel to Mary, “And your cousin Elizabeth who she home people called barren is now in her sixth month” . This is what God does. He brings forth life from the barren place. God provides food and life-giving water in the desert for the Israelites. God brings forth human life and birth in the womb of those thought to be barren. In the Old Testament – Sara wife of Abraham, Rebecca wife of Isaac, and Rachel wife of Jacob were all thought to be barren. And yet all three women gave birth. All three women gave birth to a nation, the Jewish people

God brings forth life from the desert, from the barren womb, and from the tomb. In all these circumstances the people would have thought it impossible to find life. God does the impossible. He brings forth life. He brings forth eternal life.

In our daily living, do we have areas that we consider to be barren? What does our prayer life look like? Do we pray and conclude that our prayers go unheard and unanswered? Do we feel that there is something impossible in our life? In these moments do we turn to God?

Over and over we can look to the past experience of those who have come before us in both the Old and New Testament. Over and over God proves His love for us. He does the impossible. Let us open our hearts and our minds and follow the example of Mary. Amidst confusion we still say “yes “to God‘s plan. We still say “yes” to trusting God. It is this hopeful trust that allows us to participate in God‘s plan. We do not resist or thwart grace bestowed. I pray that each and everyone who has a personal struggle of any kind places it before God. The God who brings forth life. The God for whom nothing is impossible.

First Reading
Rev 12:1-6a, 10ab

A woman clothed with the sun, with the moon beneath her feet.

A reading from the Book of Revelation

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.”


Responsorial Psalm
Ps 45: 10, 11, 12, 16

R. :

R. (10bc) The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold.

Hear, O daughter, and see; turn your ear,
   forget your people and your father’s house.

R. The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold.

So shall the king desire your beauty;
   for he is your lord.

R. The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold.

They are borne in with gladness and joy;
   they enter the palace of the king.

R. The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold.


Second Reading
1 Cor 15:20-27

Christ, the firstfruits, then those who belong to him.

A reading from the first Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians

Brothers and sisters:
Christ has been raised from the dead,
   the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
For since death came through man,
   the resurrection of the dead came also through man.
For just as in Adam all die,
   so too in Christ shall all be brought to life,
   but each one in proper order:
   Christ the firstfruits;
   then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ;
   then comes the end,
   when he hands over the kingdom to his God and Father,
   when he has destroyed every sovereignty
   and every authority and power.
For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.
The last enemy to be destroyed is death,
   for “he subjected everything under his feet.”


Acclamation before the Gospel

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Mary is taken up to heaven;
a chorus of angels exults.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.


Gospel
Lk 1:39-58

The Almighty has done great things for me: he has raised up the lowly.

✠ A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke

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,
   he 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 for ever.”

Mary remained with her about three months
   and then returned to her home.

At the end of the Gospel, the Deacon, or the Priest, acclaims:

The Gospel of the Lord.

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