The Solemnity of the Assumption
of the Blessed Virgin Mary
   August 15, 2021, Cycle B
       Fr. José Maria de Sousa Alvim Calado Cortes, F.S.C.B., Chaplain
              Saint  John Paul II National Shrine, Washington, D.C.

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Sunday Reading Meditations

The preface of today’s Mass says that Mary is “a sign of sure hope and comfort to your pilgrim people.”

The first reading says: “A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun” (Rev 121). Mary is the sign. She is the great sign that God gives us. A sign is not an end in itself. It refers to something or to someone else. Mary is a sign because she always wants to lead us to Christ. She wants to help us accomplish God’s will. She gives us her example and obtains for us the graces that we need to walk the path of this life.

In the Gospel, Saint Elizabeth exclaims: “Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled” (Lk 1:45). Mary believed and because of that her life was fully accomplished. She has the perfect vision of God in body and soul. Because of her faith, her life is glorified. Her faith led her to the fullness of happiness. Mary’s deepest desire is that we, her children, follow her example. She wants us to live our lives as a path of glorification, as a pilgrimage to our destiny.

Mary is “a sign of sure hope” (
Lumen gentium, 68). Through her Assumption, she shows us our destiny. The glory of her body in heaven demonstrates that we, too, shall one day participate in the same glory. In the second reading, Saint Paul says: “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” (1 Cor 15:23). Mary belonged to Christ in a perfect way. For this reason, she already lives what we, too, shall live one day.

In the Apostolic Constitution that defined the dogma of the Assumption, Pope Pius XII declared: “Finally it is our hope that belief in Mary’s bodily Assumption into heaven will make our belief in our own resurrection stronger and render it more effective.” The resurrection of the body is a very important truth of our faith. It shows that what is material is also saved. It highlights the dignity of the human body. There is no dimension of our lives that is not embraced by God’s mercy.

The reading from the Book of Revelation shows us that Mary participates actively in the combat against the dragon. She is in Heaven but her heart is human and deeply connected with us in our trials. In a special way, when her children go through moments of tribulation, she is with them, giving them her maternal protection.

Mary is “a sign of comfort.” To her sweet and tender eyes, we can always turn our hearts. Saint Bernard says in the
Memorare: “Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession, was left unaided.”

As we celebrate the Assumption of Our Lady, we look at her as a sign of hope and comfort. Our Queen and Our Mother, on this day when we celebrate your glorification in Heaven, we ask for your maternal intercession. Protect us, as we walk the path of this life, full of so many dangers. Guided by your sweet presence, may we reach our glorious destiny.  Amen.