By Fr. Earl Henley, MSC (California Community - St. Joseph Mission - San Jacinto, CA)
Father Earl professed his first vows on September 13, 1964, and was ordained on September 6, 1969. He is working in San Jacinto, California as Pastor of St. Joseph Mission.
My Sisters and Brothers, on the 15 of August we celebrate the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the day in which our lady was assumed, body and soul into heaven. And what more fitting Gospel reading on which to reflect on this day than the gospel message that we hear in Luke's gospel. The first part shows Mary-after receiving the angel' s, message that she would bear the long-awaited Messiah of God-- making haste across the hills of Judea to share the good news with her cousin Elizabeth, who was also miraculously with child. Bible scholars have long seen, suggested and mused that this encounter between Mary and Elizabeth, in a way, was the first Pentecost, for the gospel says that Elizabeth, at the sound of Mary's voice, was "filled with Holy Spirit" (Lk 1:41). And Elizabeth responds with the words we still use today to greet our Blessed Mother, saying, blessed are you among women (v.42). Elizabeth blesses Mary for her mission she has taken on-- the mission she has assumed -not to keep the angel's secret but to go out and proclaim the saving announcement to all.
So in second part of the gospel reading, Mary starts what one could call her SECOND MISSION, that is, her mission not just to her cousin, but now to all people, a mission expressed in one of the greatest songs of the New Testament, The MAGNIFICAT: My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior (VV. 46-47). Mary's Magnificat is a song filled with hope, mercy, and joy. It is a song overflowing with ratitude, beatitude at amazement at God's wonderful and mighty deeds.
And so, let us celebrate the Virgin Mary who by ''HER YES" in God's Salvation for the world. May we, like Mary, remain fully open and aware of the work . God is doing in our lives and in the lives of those we love. Like Mary filled and empowered her cousin Elizabeth, may we strive to help and empower one another. Mary never tired of proclaiming the Good News of her Son Jesus Christ, Mary was there, pointing to her Son and leading the world to him. Because of this God glorified her, allowing her not to see corruption. May we, by Mary's example and intercession, never tire to do the same.
WE ALL HAVE MISSIONS ON OUR OWN. We may not travel to distant places, but a mission is there nevertheless-- a Mission to our Families, our Friends, our Neighbors, Strangers we simply cross on the street. Our mission is there. Mary proclaimed that upon hearing, receiving and saying "yes" to the angel's message, God's power had been shown: that the proud had been scattered and the lowly lifted up, that hungry had been fed and the rich sent away empty. This is our work, Sisters and Brothers. This is our mission. May we rise from the tables of Word and sacrament and make haste to bring these, mighty acts to bear fruit in our own time.
Here is powerful quote from St. Maximilian Kolbe: "Never be afraid of loving the Blessed Virgin Mary too much. You can never love her more than Jesus did."
Noshun Lovik-Peace to you