Sunday Readings and Reflections

Frans Beschey, Assumption of the Virgin, 1750-1767, oil on copper, Hermitage Museum.

Sunday, August 15 
Assumption of the Virgin Mary into Heaven – Solemnity 

Roman Ordinary calendar

St. Tarsicius

Book of Revelation 11,19a.12,1-6a.10ab.

God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder, an earthquake, and a violent hailstorm. 
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.” 

Psalms 45(44),10bc.11.12ab.16.

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. 

First Letter to the Corinthians 15,20-27.

Brothers and sisters: Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 
For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead came also through a human being. 
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 firstfruits; 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.” 

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 1,39-56.

Mary set out in those days and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, 
where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, 
cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. 
And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. 
Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” 
And Mary said: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; 
my spirit rejoices in God my savior. 
For he has looked with favor on his lowly servant; 
from this day all generations will call me blessed. 
The Almighty has done great things for me, 
and holy is his name. 
He has mercy on those who fear him 
in every generation. 
He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart. 
He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. 
He has filled the hungry with good things; 
and the rich he has sent away empty. 
He has come to the help of his servant Israel , 
remembering his promise of mercy, 
The promise he made to our fathers, 
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.” 
Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home. 

Saint Aelred of Rielvaux (1110-1167) 
Cistercian monk 
2nd sermon for the Assumption, from the Durham collection

“From henceforth all ages will call me blessed”

If Saint Mary Magdalene – who had been a sinner and from whom the Lord had cast out seven demons – merited to be glorified by him to the extent that her praise abides for ever among the assembly of the saints, who can measure the extent to which “the upright rejoice and dance for joy in the presence of the Lord” with regard to holy Mary, who knew not man? (…) If the apostle Peter – who was not only unable to watch for one hour with Christ but who even went so far as to deny him – afterwards won such favor that the keys of the Kingdom of heaven were entrusted to him, of what praises is holy Mary not worthy, who bore the king of angels himself in her womb, he whom the heavens cannot contain? If Saul, who “breathed murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord” (…) was the object of such mercy (…) that he was “caught up to the third heaven, whether in the body or out of the body”, it is not surprising that the holy Mother of God – who stayed beside her son through all the trials he endured from his cradle onwards – should have been lifted up to heaven, even in her body, and exalted high above the choirs of angels.

If there is “joy in heaven before the angels over one sinner who repents”, who can tell what joyful and lovely praises rise up before God concerning holy Mary who never sinned? (…) Indeed, if those who “once were darkness” and have now become “light in the Lord” “will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father”, who is able to tell “the eternal weight of glory” of holy Mary, who came into the world “like dawn arising, beautiful as the moon, resplendent as the sun” and of whom was born “the true light which enlightens everyone coming into the world”? Moreover, since our Lord said: “Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am there will my servant also be”, where do we think his mother must be who served him with such eagerness and fidelity? If she followed him and obeyed him even to death, no one can wonder that now, more than anyone else, she “follows the Lamb wherever he goes.”

(Biblical references : Lk 8:2; Ps 149[148]:1; Ps 68[67]:4; Lk 1:34; Mt 26:40.70; Mt 16:19; Acts 9:1; 2 Cor 12:2; Lk 22:28; Lk 15:7; Eph 5:8; Mt 13:43;  2 Cor 4:17; Sg 6:9; Jn 1:9; Jn 12:26; Rv 14:4)

Traditional Latin Mass Readings for this Sunday

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