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SUNDAY SCRIPTURES | Mary’s Assumption is a sign of hope and promise

SOLEMNITY OF THE ASSUMPTION | We can make choices that reflect that hope and promise in our families and our world today

“A great sign appeared” — the words at the beginning of our reading from the Book of Revelation remind us that Mary is a sign to us. But what is she a sign of? What are we to understand about the Solemnity of the Assumption that could be fruitful for us today and the rest of the days of our lives?

The gift that Mary was given to be assumed into heaven was the original plan for all of us. But because sin has so fractured us and the creation that God has made, Mary stands as a sign that the dream of God is still alive, intact and available to each of us. Mary is also a sign to us that points the way to the kind of life we should lead if we are to be disciples of Jesus.

The inclusion of the Magnificat prayer in the Gospel gives us clear instructions to follow when we are invited by God to do something, even if we have questions or misgivings. Mary begins that prayer by defining the purpose of her life. She is here to magnify the greatness of God. Take a moment to think about what that would mean for you and the choices you make. I know that sometimes I get sidetracked with wondering what people think of me or how I end up looking in other people’s eyes, and I lose track of the purpose of my life. But my actions and choices are supposed to make God bigger in the world in which I live. Mary recounts the ways that God has done great things for her and she knows that if she does what God wants her to do, she will be remembered as one of the blessed ones.

She then goes about making clear the consequences that come from some of the less-than-holy choices we make. She warns us against pride and accentuates the lowly. She reminds us that God fills our deepest hunger and warns us that richness will cause an emptiness deep within.

Mary speaks about the promises that God has made to her people and claims that God has been faithful to those promises. I wonder if we have taken time lately to notice the faithfulness of God in our own lives and to give praise and thanks to God and speak our witness of God’s faithfulness to any who will listen to us.

Instead of being a person whose prayers are filled with wonderful words, Mary shows us what it means to be faithful to God and living out our gratitude. She remains with Elizabeth. Think about that a moment and wonder what those moments must have been like for Mary and Elizabeth to share the wonder of the incredible gift that they’ve been given and how difficult it must’ve been for the both of them, from the circumstances of their individual lives, to believe what God said to them as He gave them the gift of their children.

As we celebrate Mary’s Assumption, a sign of hope and promise, let us make choices for our lives to reflect the same in our families and in our world today. What service could you give to someone who is finding it difficult to hope? What kind of faithfulness could you show another as a reflection of the faithfulness and promises of God? What parts of your life have you still not given your assent to, because you lack hope or a belief in God’s promises?

A special prayer and blessing toward those who are awaiting the birth of a child: May this time of waiting be a time when you experience the faithfulness of God’s promises to you, when you find a true companion in Mary as you struggle with any part of your pregnancy and expectation, and as you find a way to be of service to others even as you await the birth.

Father Wester is pastor of All Saints Parish in St. Peters.

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