As we prepare to celebrate our patronal feast, Mary Assumed into Heaven, each day of our novena clergy of the Archdiocese of Cape Town will offer reflections on Our Lady.
In this reflection for Saturday, 7 August, Bishop Sylvester David OMI, reflects on the meaning and significance of this feast.
This video is also available on the Archdiocese of Cape Town’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. Please share these daily reflections on your parish WhatsApp groups and other platforms.
The text of the video is also offered below, for those who are deaf.
Bishop S. David OMI. Reflection on the Solemnity of the Assumption
This solemnity has a lot more to do with us than we realise. It celebrates the fulfilment of the promise that those who are faithful to Christ will share eternity with him.
The gospel text for the feast itself is that of the Visitation. Mary had just made her first communion – she had received Jesus for the first time. And what does she do? She makes haste and goes on a missionary journey which brings so much joy to an older woman that even the child in the older one leaps for joy. How nice if we could bring joy to others like that. It is often said that there is a child in each of us. This inner child represents innocence, helplessness and the ability to say it like it is. Think of how many of our complexes would be resolved if this child is allowed to articulate itself from time to time.
I think it is important to note how our Gospel text starts: the original states ‘arising in those days Mary went to the hill country …’ The attentive Bible reader will note that the word arising is in fact a resurrection word and will know that as soon as Mary said yes to God she started to share in the resurrection. Mary being assumed into heaven should come as no surprise to us. Next the attentive bible reader will ask: ‘in which days?’ and if attentive enough will realise that the phrase ‘in those days’ is a formula which introduces the new covenant in Jeremiah 31. In fact, that formula occurs four times in the context of the new covenant. It signals the promise of new blessings, restoration to the Promised Land, and a new and more intimate relationship with God. The Bible reader will then realise that the time for the fulfilment of the new covenant has come. In the annunciation and the word taking flesh God is fulfilling the ancient promises. Do you think it is mere coincidence that the new covenant is quoted verbatim and in its entirety when the priestly work of Jesus Christ is described in the 8th chapter of Hebrews?
Elizabeth’s response would remind the attentive Bible reader of what David said when the ark of the first covenant was brought to him: ‘why should the ark of the Lord be brought to me?’ Now Elizabeth asks why the ark of the new covenant should be brought to her. God is indeed doing something new. What a pity it would be if we do not embrace this newness.
I wish you a joyful celebration of the fulfilment of God’s promise in your own life, in your own family and in our Archdiocese.