In our Gospel today Jesus asks his disciples the question, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’ This question is probably the most important question ever posed. Everything depends on the answer we give to this vital question.
Various answers were given according to what the disciples had heard the people say, but then Peter comes up with the right answer, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.’
The important thing for us is to echo the same words as Peter uttered on that great day. We need to make his statement of faith the basis of our own faith.
When we say the Creed at Mass each Sunday, we are reminding ourselves of the truths we professed at our Baptism and Confirmation. We are reiterating the fundamental beliefs of the Church of which this one simple phrase is the basis: ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.’
Father of night, Father of day
Father who takes the darkness away
Father who teacheth the birds to fly
Builder of rainbows up in the sky
Father of loneliness and pain
Father of love and Father of rain.
Father of day, Father of night
Father of black, Father of white
Father who built the mountains so high
Who shapeth the cloud there up in the sky
Father of time and Father of dreams
Father who turneth the river and stream.
Father of grain, Father of wheat
Father of cold and Father of heat
Father of air and Father of trees
Who dwells in our hearts and our memories
Father of minutes, Father of days
Father of whom we most solemnly praise.
For Catholics, the feast of the Assumption of Mary reflects the belief that Mary was taken up body and soul into heaven.
However, you would be disappointed if you were looking for a text in the Bible about how and where Mary died. The last we hear of her is when she is praying with the Apostles at Pentecost (Acts 1:14). Indeed, St Paul refers to Mary only once in all his many letters and even there she is not named. In his letter to the Galatians, he says ‘When the appointed time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman to redeem the subjects of the law.’ (Gal 4:4). Rather today’s feast represents what the church has concluded was the fitting end to Mary’s life.
It was as early as 431 at the Council of Ephesus that Mary was declared Mother of God. However, even though Catholics had believed in the doctrine since earliest times, it was only in November 1950 that Pius XII solemnly defined the teaching that Mary was assumed into heaven.
help me to spread your fragrance everywhere I go.
Flood my soul with Your spirit and life.
Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly,
that my life may only be a radiance of yours.
Shine through me, and be so in me
that every soul I come in contact with
may feel your presence in my soul.
Let them look up and see no longer me, but only Jesus!
Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as You shine,
so to shine as to be a light to others;
the light, O Jesus will be all from You;
none of it will be mine;
it will be you, shining on others through me.
Let me thus praise you the way you love best,
by shining on those around me.
Let me preach you without preaching,
not by words but by my example,
by the catching force
of the sympathetic influence of what I do,
the evident fullness of the love my heart bears to you. Amen.
John Henry Cardinal Newman
Father Alex McAllister SDS