Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Assumption ponderings. . .

Feast of the Assumption of Mary
August 15
GOSPEL LK 1:39-56
Mary set out
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,
“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 the strength of his arm,
and has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has 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
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children forever.”

Mary remained with her about three months
and then returned to her home.

The Song
When a woman in a certain African tribe knows she is pregnant, she goes out into the wilderness with a few friends and together they pray and meditate until they hear the song of the child. They recognize that every soul has its own vibration that expresses its unique flavor and purpose. When the women attune to the song, they sing it out loud. Then they return to the tribe and teach it to everyone else. When the child is born, the community gathers and sings the child's song to him or her.

Later, when the child enters education, the village gathers and chants the child's song. When the child passes through the initiation to adulthood, the people again come together and sing. At the time of marriage, the person hears his or her song. Finally, when the soul is about to pass from this world, the family and friends gather at the person's bed, just as they did at their birth, and they sing the person to the next life. (Internet)

Today, our Gospel of Luke so fittingly presents to us the Women of the Song.  Their meeting is a prototype of a liturgy of Word and Bread. There is meeting, greeting, blessing, and sharing of the nourishment of their wisdom, wonder, and awe of what God has done for them.

Mary goes with haste and enters the house of Zachariah and greets Elizabeth. Elizabeth, no longer barren, is filled with a child who dances with joy at the recognition of the Word enfleshed within Mary. Elizabeth is bursting with a sense of the holy and sings a song of blessing upon Mary.

In response to Elizabeth’s greeting, Mary proclaims a song of liberation for all people.  Her song is revolutionary and is the first proclamation of justice in the New Testament. 

These women, who stand pregnant in an embrace of joy, laughter, and praise for God’s marvels, will give birth to children of the Song . . . Mary’s Magnificat!

These children in turn will one day stand together and sing their new song that would be revolutionary as well.  John will sing his song of justice and repentance, daring the people to prepare the way for the Messiah.  His voice will ring out like “thunder in the desert.”

Jesus, son of Mary, will hear his song in the desert as well. He will claim his purpose to be Mission, Messiah, and Beloved. He will be Bread for the hungry, the marginalized, and the oppressed. His song of the Beatitudes will break through to the hearts of the “least, the last, and the lost."

Certainly, the faith, trust, courage, and strength of Mary’s witness is most especially captured in her song of praise, the Magnificat –

Truly, the NT does not present a meek, fragile woman, lacking creativity and initiative.  It reveals a strong, upright woman who put her free will at the disposal of God’s dream for her. This is what the feast of the Assumption celebrates; that because God will never be outdone in fidelity and generosity, God remained utterly faithful to Mary through death, as she was unreservedly faithful to God in life.

So today, as we gather around this table to continue to sing Mary’s song for all generations . . .  we ask, how can this feast speak to us?
I have chosen to respond to this question with a selection from Soul Sisters by Edwina Gateley, who reflects upon this Gospel . . .

“Blessed Mary! Blessed are you!
Bearer of hope for the world.
Co-creator . . .....graced by divine mystery . . .
Ah, Mary! How your soul sang with fullness and gratitude. . .

Affirmed, loved and comforted,
You stayed with Elizabeth,
Absorbing the experience and the wisdom
of the older woman,
deepening in your own resolve
to nurture, hold
and mother God.
Your journey has blessed ours, Mary.

Your Yes dares us
to believe in the impossible,
to embrace the unknown,
and to expect the breaking through of mystery
onto our bleak and level horizons.

The words you heard, Mary,
we will forever remember.
We will not be afraid,
for the life that you birthed
will not be extinguished
in our souls.”

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