The Feast of the Assumption
‘Blessed art thou amongst women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.’
Almighty ever-living God,who assumed
the Immaculate Virgin Mary, the Mother of your Son,
body and soul into heavenly glory, grant, we pray,
that, always attentive to the things that are above,
we may merit to be sharers of her glory.
In England and Wales, Sunday 16th August is celebrated as the Feast of the Assumption. Elsewhere, it is celebrated as the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A.
The glorious taking up of Mary into heaven, though not mentioned in Scripture, has been celebrated since the sixth century and is now part of recognised Roman Catholic doctrine. The feast of the Assumption is celebrated in mid August in the Catholic church, and some other denominations also keep this day as a special Feast of the Virgin Mary.
The readings for today’s celebration are all triumphant in tone.
In the First Reading, a woman, in whom we can see either Mary or the Early Church, defeats the evil dragon with the help of God, bringing the Messiah safely to birth.
Verses from Psalm 44 (45), originally part of a wedding song for a king, are also applied to Mary in today’s liturgy. She takes her place, in triumph, in the palace of the King, her Son.
In the Second Reading, Paul tells the Corinthians that Christ, raised from the dead, has put all his enemies under his feet, including death. In today’s feast we celebrate the fact that Mary, mother of Jesus, also enjoys the fruits of the Resurrection.
The Gospel recounts Mary’s visit to Elizabeth, where she voices her triumphant hymn of praise, the Magnificat, as she proclaims:
‘The Almighty has done great things for me.’
This week, like Mary, we might also wish to praise the Lord for the great things he has done for us, and for the people around us.