Pope Francis celebrated the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary yesterday at Mass held at the Piazza della Liberta, located in front of the Papal Palace in Castel Gandolfo. The Holy Father focused on three key words regarding the Blessed Virgin Mary: struggle, resurrection and hope.
Reflecting on the first reading from Revelations, which spoke of the vision of the “struggle between the woman and the dragon”, the Pope stated that the image of the woman represents the Church today which although glorious and triumphant, is “still in travail.”
“If in heaven she is already associated in some way with the glory of her Lord, in history she continually lives through the trials and challenges which the conflict between God and the evil one, the perennial enemy, brings,” the Pope said.
“And in the struggle which the disciples must confront – all of us, all the disciples of Jesus, we must face this struggle – Mary does not leave them alone: the Mother of Christ and of the Church is always with us. She walks with us always, she is with us.”
The Pope went on to say that Mary accompanies us in prayer, particularly in the prayer of the Rosary, which he said, “sustains us in the battle” against the “evil one and his accomplices.”
Regarding the second reading, Pope Francis stated that it focuses on the resurrection, due to Paul’s letter to the Corinthians which stated that “being a Christian means believing that Christ is truly risen from the dead.
“Our whole faith is based upon this fundamental truth which is not an idea but an event. Even the mystery of Mary’s Assumption body and soul is fully inscribed in the resurrection of Christ,” the Pope said.
“The Mother’s humanity is ‘attracted’ by the Son in his own passage from death to life. Once and for all, Jesus entered into eternal life with all the humanity he had drawn from Mary; and she, the Mother, who followed him faithfully throughout her life, followed him with her heart, and entered with him into eternal life which we also call heaven, paradise, the Father’s house.”
Mary, he continued, in uniting herself to the Passion of Her Son, was given the gift of the resurrection, saying that Mary is the first fruit of the redeemed, the first of ‘those who are in Christ.’”
She is our Mother, but we can also say that she is our representative, our sister, our eldest sister, she is the first of the redeemed, who has arrived in heaven,” the Holy Father said.
Pope Francis reflected on the final word “hope”, saying that it is the virtue of those who believe in the “victory of love” in the midst of conflict and suffering. The Holy Father also stated that the Magnificat recounted in the Gospel, is itself a song of hope and “the song of the People of God walking through history.”
“It is the song many saints, men and women, some famous, and very many others unknown to us but known to God: moms, dads, catechists, missionaries, priests, sisters, young people, even children and grandparents: these have faced the struggle of life while carrying in their heart the hope of the little and the humble.”
The Holy Father concluded his homily, saying that the Magnificat resonates in places today where “the Body of Christ is suffering the Passion.”
For us Christians, wherever the Cross is, there is hope, always. If there is no hope, we are not Christian. That is why I like to say: do not allow yourselves to be robbed of hope. May we not be robbed of hope, because this strength is a grace, a gift from God which carries us forward with our eyes fixed on heaven,” Pope Francis said.