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Liturgical day: August 15th: Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

1st Reading (Rev 11:19; 12:1.3-6.10): 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».
Responsorial Psalm: 44
R/. The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold.
The queen takes her place at your right hand in gold of Ophir.

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

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

They are borne in with gladness and joy; they enter the palace of the king.
2nd Reading (1Cor 15,20-27): Brothers and sisters: Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits 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 first fruits; 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».
Verscicle before the Gospel (---): Alleluia. Mary is taken up to heaven; a chorus of angels exults. Alleluia.

Gospel text (Lc 1,39-56): Mary then set out for a town in the Hills of Judah. She entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leapt in her womb. Elizabeth was filled with holy spirit, and giving a loud cry, said, «You are most blessed among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb! How is it that the mother of my Lord comes to me? The moment your greeting sounded in my ears, the baby within me suddenly leapt for joy. Blessed are you who believed that the Lord's word would come true!».

And Mary said: «My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit exults in God my savior! He has looked upon his servant in her lowliness, and people forever will call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, Holy is his Name! From age to age his mercy extends to those who live in his presence. He has acted with power and done wonders, and scattered the proud with their plans. He has put down the mighty from their thrones and lifted up those who are downtrodden. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He held out his hand to Israel, his servant, for he remembered his mercy, even as he promised our fathers, Abraham and his descendants forever». Mary remained with Elizabeth about three months and then returned home.

«My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit exults in God my savior!»

Fr. Josep ALEGRE Abbot of Santa Maria de Poblet
(Tarragona, Spain)

Today, we celebrate the solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in body and soul to Heaven. «Today —St. Bernard says— the Virgin, full of glory, is taken up to heaven, showering the celestials beings with joy». And he will add these precious words: «What a beautiful present the earth is today sending to heaven! With this wonderful gesture of friendship —such as giving and receiving— the human and the divine, the earthly and the heavenly, the humble and the sublime, merge into one. It is there, the most precious earthly fruit, where the best presents and the most valuable gifts come from. Taken up to heaven, the Virgin Mary will lavish her gifts on all men».

The first gift she lavishes on us is the Word, that She knew how to keep so faithfully in her heart, by making it bear fruit from the very profound and warm silence. With this Word in her interior space, while begetting in her womb the Life for all men, «Mary set out for a town in the Hills of Judah. She entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth» (Lk 1:39-40). Mary's presence exults in joy, and Elizabeth says: «The moment your greeting sounded in my ears, the baby within me suddenly leapt for joy» (Lk 1:44).

She, mostly, presents us with the gift of her commendation, her same joy made music, her Magnificat: «My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit exults in God my savior!...» (Lk 1:46-47). What a beautiful gift the heaven sends back to us with Mary's song, made word of God. In this song we find the signs to learn how the human and the divine, the earthly and the celestial blend together, while being able to react, as She does, to the gift God presents us with, in the person of his Son, through his Saint Mother: to become a gift from God to the world, and tomorrow, a gift from mankind to God, by following Mary's example, who precedes us in this glorification which we are bound to.