Year 133 - July-August 2021

Mary, the first witness

Fr. Livio Tonello, director

The Assumption of the Virgin Mary’s body and soul in heavenly glory after completing the course of her earthly life, is not narrated in the New Testament: it has been celebrated since VIII century and it was dogmatically defined in 1950. The readings for the solemnity of the Assumption of the blessed Virgin Mary (on 15 th August ) provide biblical support to place Mary’s life in the history of Redemption.

In the passages excerpted from chapters 11 and 12 of the Book of Revelation we read that two signs appeared in the sky: “a woman who gave birth to a son, a male child destined to rule all - nations” and another sign: “it was a huge red dragon with seven heads and ten horns that stood before the woman about to give birth to devour her child the moment it was born: but the child was taken up to God and the woman was saved by God’s intervention.

So the salvation of Jesus was accomplished. It is the history of mankind, in which the Church, that must bring Christ into the world, will always find itself fighting against the devil who wants to prevent this from happening. But the conclusion will be “the salvation and the power of the Kingdom of our Lord and the authority of his Anointed One”.

The second reading is a passage of the first letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 15,20-27) where Paul speaks of Christ’s resurrection opening the door for the rest of us to experience new life in him: “But now Christ has risen from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. As death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead did also. For just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life”.

The eternal victory of good and of the eternal Kingdom of God will be realised and death will be won. But who will participate in this salvation?”: Mary answers in the Magnificat (Luke 1,39-56): when she goes to her relative Elisabeth she announces that those who will enjoy the blessed eternity of God are the ones who “belong to Christ”: “For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness...

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. The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty”. The Lord will beautify with salvation the humble and the poor whose life is God centred.

The Bible readings of the Mass prophetise the history of the mankind: there will always be a fight between good and evil but God will have the final victory and all those who are “of Christ” will participate in the resurrection. Mary, Jesus’ mother is the first witness of all this; she brought Jesus into the world, she is the figure of the Church symbolised in the image of a woman clothed with the sun of the book of Revelation; in her was realised the prophecy of eternal salvation because she won the battle against evil and she is the shining example of the perspective offered to the mankind.

The solemnity of the Assumption announces the eternal destination of those who fight against evil to generate the salvation of our Lord over the centuries.

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