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Assumption of Mary
ONE PAGE SYNOPSIS OF ASSUMPTION DAY HOMILY – AUG 15th

Why do we honor Mary: Mary herself gives the most important reason in “Magnificat:” “All generations (ages) will call me blessed because the The Mighty One has done great things for me” a) by choosing  Mary as the mother of Jesus  b) by filling her with His Holy Spirit twice, namely at the Annunciation and at Pentecost, c) by making her  “full of grace,” the paragon or embodiment of all virtues, d) by allowing her to become the most active participant with Christ, her Son, in our redemption, by suffering in mind what Jesus suffered in body. 2) Mary is our heavenly Mother.  Jesus gave us his Mother as our Mother from the cross: “Woman, behold your son.” … “Behold your mother” (John 19: 26-27).3) Mary is the supreme model of all virtues, especially holiness of life (full of grace), obedience to the will of God (“fiat”) and true humility (“Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me as you wish”).

Reasons why we believe in the dogma of Assumption:  Pope Pius XII in the papal document, Munificentimus Deus gives four reasons why we believe in the dogma of assumption of Mary. 1) The uninterrupted tradition about Mary’s death and assumption starting from the first century. 2) The belief expressed in all the ancient liturgies of the Church. 3) The negative evidence of the absence and veneration of a tomb of Mary while most of the apostles have their tombs. 4) The possibility of bodily assumption is warranted in the Old Testament in the cases of Enoch (Gen. 5:24), perhaps Moses (Deut. 34:5), and especially Elijah (II Kg. 2:1).5) The theological reasons. a) The degeneration of the body after death is the consequence of “original sin,” and Mary, as “immaculately conceived,” is exempted from the post-mortem decay of the body.  b) As receiver of the fullness of grace and holiness, as mother of Jesus and as co-redeemer, Mary’s place is with her son Jesus, the redeemer, in the abode of holiness, heaven.

Life messages: 1) As Mary’s Assumption was a reward for a holy life, this feast invites us to keep our bodies pure and holy.  Paul gives three additional reasons: a) our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit,

b) our body parts are the members of Christ’s body, and c) our bodies are to be glorified on the day of the Last Judgment.

2)   Assurance of hope in our resurrection and a source of inspiration during moments of despair and temptations.

3)   Message of total liberation from all our bondages: impure, unjust and uncharitable thoughts, desires, words and actions, addiction to evil habits, drugs, alcohol and gambling, pornography and sexual aberrations. 

 

Feast of Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary (LP) 2010

(Revelation 11: 19, 12: 1-6, 10; I Corinthians 15: 20-27.  Luke 1: 39-56)

Introduction: The Feast of the Assumption is one of the most important feasts of our Lady.  Catholics believe in the Assumption of the Virgin Mary into heaven. We believe that when her earthly life was finished, Mary was taken up, body and soul, into heavenly glory, where the Lord exalted her as Queen of Heaven. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, # 966).  The Assumption is the feast of Mary’s total liberation from death and decay, the consequences of original sin.  It is also the remembrance of the day when the Church gave official recognition to the centuries-old belief of Christians about the Assumption of their heavenly mother.  In the Orthodox Church, the koimesis, or dormitio ("falling asleep") of the Virgin began to be commemorated on August 15 in the 6th century.  The observance gradually spread to the West, where it became known as the feast of the Assumption.  By the 13th century, the belief had been accepted by most Catholic theologians, and it was a popular subject with Renaissance and Baroque painters.  It was on November 1, 1950, that, through the Apostolic Constitution Munificentimus Deus, Pope Pius XII officially declared the Assumption as a dogma of Catholic faith.  On this important feast day, we try to answer two questions:  1) What is meant by "Assumption?"  2) Why do we believe in Mary’s Assumption into heaven despite the fact that there is no reference to it in the Bible?  “Assumption” means that after her death, Mary was taken into heaven, both body and soul, as a reward for her sacrificial cooperation in the divine plan of salvation.  “On this feast day, let us thank the Lord for the gift of the Mother, and let us pray to Mary to help us find the right path every day” (Pope Benedict XVI).

Exegesis: Scripture on Mary’s death and Assumption.   Although there  is no direct reference to Mary’s death and Assumption in the New Testament,  two cases of assumption are mentioned in the Old Testament, namely, that of Enoch (Genesis 5: 24) and  Elijah (2 Kings 2:1).  These references support the possibility of Mary’s assumption.  The possibility of bodily assumption is also indirectly suggested by Matthew 27: 52-53 and I Cor. 15: 23-24.  In his official declaration of the dogma, the pope also cites the scriptural verses Ps 131:8, Cant 3:6, Rev 12, Is 61:13 and Cant 8:5. 

Tradition on Mary’s Assumption: The fact of Mary’s death is generally accepted by the Church Fathers and theologians and is expressly affirmed in the liturgy of the Church.  Origen (died AD 253), St. Jerome (died AD 419) and St. Augustine (died AD 430), among others, argue that Mary’s death was  not a punishment for  sin, but only the result of her being a descendant of Adam and Eve. When Pope Pius XII made the proclamation on November 1, 1950, he put into words a belief held by the faithful for over 1500 years. Way back in AD 325 the Council of Nicea spoke of the Assumption of Mary. Writing in AD 457, the Bishop of Jerusalem said that when Mary’s tomb was opened, it was "found empty. The apostles judged her body had been taken into heaven.

Pope Pius XII based his declaration of the Assumption on both tradition and theology.  The uninterrupted tradition in the Eastern Churches starting from the first century, the apocryphal first century book, Transitus Mariae, and the writings of the early Fathers of the Church, such as St. Gregory and St John Damascene, supported and promoted the popular belief in the Assumption of Mary.  There is a tomb at the foot of the Mt. of Olives where ancient tradition says that Mary was laid.  But there is nothing inside.  There are no relics, as with the other saints. This is acceptable negative evidence of Mary’s Assumption.  Besides, credible apparitions of Mary, though not recorded in the New Testament, have been recorded from the 3rd century till today.

In his decree on the dogma of the Assumption, Pope Pius XII gives four theological reasons to support this traditional belief.

 #1: The degeneration or decay of the body after death is the result of original sin.  However, since, through a special intervention of God, Mary was born without original sin, it is not proper that God would permit her body to degenerate in the tomb.

 #2: Since Mary was given the fullness of grace, heaven is the proper place for this sinless mother of Jesus.

 #3: Mary was our co-redeemer, or fellow-redeemer, with Christ in a unique sense.  Hence her rightful place is with Christ our redeemer in heavenly glory. (The term Co-redeemer or Co-redemptrix, means "cooperator with the Redeemer.” This is what St. Paul meant when he said "We are God's co-workers" I Cor. 3:9.). Hence, it is “fitting” that she should be given the full effects of the Redemption, which is the glorification of the soul and the body.

#4: In the Old Testament, we read that the prophet Elijah was taken into heaven in a fiery chariot.  Thus, it appears natural and possible that the mother of Jesus would also be taken into heaven.

Scripture readings of the day: The first and third readings are about women and God’s creative, redemptive and salvific action through them.  The Book of Revelation, written in symbolic language familiar to the early Christians, was meant to encourage them and bolster their faith during times of persecution.  In the first reading, the author of Revelation did not have Mary of Nazareth in mind when he described the “woman” in this narrative.  He uses the “woman” as a symbol for the nation and people, Israel.  She is pictured as giving birth, as Israel brought forth the Messiah through its pains. The woman is also symbolic of the Church, and the woman’s offspring represents the way the Church brings Christ into the world.  The dragon represents the world's resistance to Christ and the truths that the Church proclaims.  As Mary is the mother of Christ and of the Church, the passage has indirect reference to Mary. (Navarre Bible Commentary: The description of the woman indicates her heavenly glory, and the twelve stars of her victorious crown symbolize the people of God—the twelve patriarchs (cf. Gen 37:9) and the twelve apostles. And so, independently of the chronological aspects of the text, the Church sees in this heavenly woman the Blessed Virgin, "taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, when her earthly life was over, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords (cf. Rev 19:16) and conqueror of sin and death (Lumen Gentium 59).

 

The second reading from the I Corinthians is Paul’s defense of the resurrection of the dead an apt selection on the feast of our heavenly Mother’s Assumption into heaven.  In the Magnificat, or song of Mary, given in today’s gospel, Mary acknowledges that “the Almighty has done great things” for her. Besides honoring her as Jesus’ mother, God has blessed her with the gift of bodily Assumption.  God, who has "lifted up" his "lowly servant" Mary, lifts up all the lowly, not only because they are faithful, but also because God is faithful to the promise of divine mercy.  Thus the feast of the Assumption celebrates the mercy of God or the victory of God’s mercy as expressed in Mary’s Magnificat.

Life messages: #1: Mary’s Assumption gives us the assurance and hope of our own resurrection and assumption into heaven on the day of our Last Judgment. It is a sign to us that someday, through God’s grace and our good life, we, too, will join the Blessed Mother in giving glory to God. It points the way for all followers of Christ who imitate Mary’s fidelity and obedience to God’s will.                                                                                     

#2: Since Mary’s Assumption was a reward for her saintly life, this feast reminds us that we, too, must be pure and holy in body and soul, since our bodies will be glorified on the day of our resurrection.  St. Paul tells us that our bodies are the temples of God because the Holy Spirit dwells within us.  He also reminds us that our bodies are also members (parts) of the Body of Christ.

#3: This feast also gives us the message of total liberation.  Jesus tells us in John 8: 34 that every one who sins is a slave of sin, and St. Paul reminds us (Gal. 5: 1) that, since Christ has set us free, we should be slaves of sin no more.  Thus, the Assumption encourages us to work with God to be liberated from the bondage of evil: from impure, unjust and uncharitable thoughts and habits, and from the bonds of jealousy, envy and hatred.

#4: Finally, it is always an inspiring thought in our moments of temptation and despair to remember that we have a powerful heavenly Mother, constantly interceding for us before her son, Jesus, in heaven. The feast of Mary’s assumption challenges us to imitate her self-sacrificing love, her indestructible faith and her perfect obedience.

Therefore, on this feast day of our heavenly Mother, let us offer ourselves on the altar and pray for her special care and loving protection in helping us lead a purer and holier life.

JOKES OF THE WEEK 1) Miss Holycheek, the Catholic Sunday school teacher, had just finished explaining the feast of the Assumption to her class.  "Now," she said, "let all those children who want to go to heaven to see their heavenly mother raise their hands."  All the children raised their hands except little Marie in the front row.  "Don't you want to go to heaven, Marie?" asked Miss Holycheek.  "I can't," said Marie tearfully. "My mother told me to come straight home after Sunday school

2) God is walking around Heaven one day, and notices a number of people on the heavenly streets who shouldn't be there.  He finds St. Peter at the gate and says to him, "Peter, you've been remiss in your duties.  You're letting in the wrong sort of people." "Don't blame me, Lord," replies Peter.  "I turn them away just like you said to.  Then they go around to the back door and Jesus’ mother lets them in." 

Spiritual practices dedicated to Mary: Mary Ford-Grabowsky in Spiritual Writings on Mary: Annotated and Explained offers these spiritual practices dedicated to Mary:

• "Begin any kind of activity with a prayer to Mary: a meal, a task of work, an exam, an athletic event, a doctor's appointment, a difficult meeting, and each time you leave the house or return.

• "Set time aside to listen to songs, chants, or classical compositions written about Mary. Try chanting yourself.

• "Create your own Mary mantra, a Mary prayer composed of only a few words, such as 'Mary, Mother of us all, give me strength' (or wisdom, patience, generosity — whatever spiritual gift you need in the moment.) Also, 'Mary be with my friend (add name). Or simply, 'I love you' or 'Thank you.' The possibilities are endless.

• "Honor Mary as the Mother of God by meditating on her words, virtues, and actions; and by contemplating what is great about her.

• "Perform acts of love for her without expectations of praise or a reward."))

Scriptural Homilies No. 348 by Fr. Tony (akadavil@mobis.com)

SYNOPSIS OF THE ASSUMPTION DAY HOMILY (AUG 15, 2010)

 (A) Reasons why we honor Mary:

1)   Reason given by Mary in “Magnificat:” “All generations (ages) will call me blessed because the The Mighty One has done great things for me” (Luke 1:49).  It is right to honor a person whom God has honored by granting her the following blessings (“great things”):

 a) He has chosen Mary as the mother of Jesus.  Since Jesus is God, Mary is the “Mother of God” (theotokos); since Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah or the “Anointed One,” Mary is the Mother of the Christ, and since Jesus is the promised “Savior,” Mary is the Mother of the Savior.

b) He has filled her with His Holy Spirit twice, namely at the Annunciation and at Pentecost. Thus she is venerable as the most Spirit-filled woman.

c) He has made her “full of grace, the paragon or embodiment of all virtues.

d) He has allowed her to become the most active participant with Christ, her Son, in our redemption, by suffering in mind what Jesus suffered in body.

2) Mary is our heavenly Mother.  Jesus gave us his Mother as our Mother from the cross: “Woman, behold your son.” … “Behold your mother” (John 19: 26-27).

3) Mary is the supreme model of all virtues, especially holiness of life (full of grace), obedience to the will of God (“fiat”) and true humility (“Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me as you wish”).

(B) Reasons why we believe in the dogma of Assumption (as explained by Pope Pius XII in the papal document, Munificentimus Deus).

1) The uninterrupted tradition about Mary’s death and assumption starting from the first century.  [Examples: Transitus Mariae, the apocryphal first century book, the teaching of early Church Fathers like Origen (3rd century), Jerome & Augustine (5th century) and many later Fathers of the Church.]

2) The belief expressed in all the ancient liturgies of the Church.

3) The negative evidence of the absence and veneration of a tomb of Mary while most of the apostles had venerated tombs.

4) The possibility of bodily assumption warranted in the Old Testament in the cases of Enoch (Gen. 5:24), perhaps Moses (Deut. 34:5), and especially Elijah (II Kg. 2:1).

5) The theological reasons. a) The degeneration of the body after death is the consequence of “original sin,” and Mary, as “immaculately conceived,” is exempted from the post-mortem decay of the body.  b) As receiver of the fullness of grace and holiness, as mother of Jesus and as co-redeemer, Mary’s place is with her son Jesus, the redeemer, in the abode of holiness, heaven.

Life messages: 1) As Mary’s Assumption was a reward for a holy life, this feast invites us to keep our bodies pure and holy.  Paul gives three additional reasons: a) our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit, b) our body parts are the members of Christ’s body, and c) our bodies are to be glorified on the day of the Last Judgment.

2)   Assurance of hope in our resurrection and a source of inspiration during moments of despair and temptations.

3)   Message of total liberation from all our bondages: impure, unjust and uncharitable thoughts, desires, words and actions, addiction to evil habits, drugs, alcohol and gambling. 

Websites of the week

1)      http://ncronline.org/(National Catholic Reporter)

2)      http://www.liguorian.org/ (Liguorian magazine online)

3)      http://www.catholicdigest.com/current_issue.html (Catholic Digest)


((Scriptural Homilies No. 348 by Fr. Tony (akadavil@mobis.com)) LP/ 10

 

List of all Reflections:

PostedTitle
09/24/201426th Sunday in Ordinary Time
09/23/201425th Sunday in Ordinary Time
02/11/2014Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
01/29/2014Presentation of the Lord
01/22/2014Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
01/15/2014Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
01/09/2014The Baptism of the Lord
12/11/2013Third Sunday in Advent
10/30/2013October 6, 2013
10/23/2013October 27, 2013
10/16/2013October 20, 2013
10/09/2013October 13, 2013
09/23/2013September 29, 2013
08/21/2013August 25, 2013 - 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time
10/31/2012November 4, 2012 - Thirty First Sunday in Ordinary Time
10/24/2012October 28, 2012-Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
10/17/2012October 21, 2012-Twenty Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
02/29/2012Second Sunday of Lent
01/31/2012
01/18/2012Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
08/24/2010August 29th
08/17/2010August 22, 2010
08/12/2010Assumption of Mary
05/25/2009Pentecost The Birthday of the Church
05/29/2008Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
10/16/200629th Sunday in Ordinary Time
10/13/200628th Sunday in Ordinary Time
06/28/2006Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
01/23/2006January 29th, 2006
01/16/2006January 22nd, 2006
01/09/2006January 15th, 2006
01/02/2006Epiphany
12/28/2005New Years Day
11/21/2005First Sunday of Advent
11/14/2005Solemnity of Christ the King
11/09/2005November 13, 2005
09/27/2005October 2, 2005
09/19/2005September 25, 2005
09/13/2005September 18, 2005
09/05/2005September 11, 2005
08/31/2005September 4, 2005
07/11/2005July 17, 2005
07/07/2005July 10, 2005
07/06/2005July 3, 2005
06/21/2005June 26, 2005
06/14/2005June 19th, 2005
05/23/2005Feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
05/16/2005Holy Trinity Sunday
05/09/2005Pentecost
05/05/2005May 8, 2005
04/26/2005May 1st, 2005
04/18/2005Fifth Sunday of Easter
04/11/2005Fourth Sunday of Easter
04/06/2005THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER
04/06/2005Divine Mercy Sunday
04/05/2005Holy Thursday Homily
03/27/2005EASTER
03/25/2005The Passion of John
03/14/2005PALM SUNDAY
03/07/2005FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT
02/28/2005Fourth Sunday of Lent
02/23/2005Third Sunday of Lent
02/14/2005Second Sunday of Lent
02/10/2005First Sunday of Lent
02/07/2005Ash Wednesday
01/31/2005Feb. 6, 2005
01/24/2005January 30th, 2005
01/17/2005January 23, 2005
01/10/2005January 16, 2005
01/05/2005January 9th, 2005
01/02/2005January 2, 2005
12/28/2004Mary, Mother of God - Jan. 1st
12/26/2004Feast of the Holy Family
12/22/2004Christmas
12/13/2004Fourth Sunday of Advent Readings: Isaiah 7:10-14. Psalm 24: 1-6. Romans 1:1-7. Matthew 1:18-24.
12/06/2004Third Sunday of Advent Readings: Isaiah 35:1-6a, 10. Psalm 146:6-10. James 5:7-10. Matthew 11:2-11.
12/01/2004Second Sunday of Advent Readings: Isaiah 11:1-10. Psalm 72, 1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17. Romans 15:4-9. Matthew 3: 1-12
11/29/2004First Sunday of Advent Readings: Isaiah 2:1-5. Psalm 122:1-9. Romans 13:11-14. Matthew 24:37-44.
11/22/2004The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King 2 Samuel 5:1-3, Psalm 122:1-5, Colossians 1:12-20, Luke 23:35-43