Fr-Young :: “Flesh of My Flesh” – Assumption & 20th Sunday OT 2015

Our Lady and the Blessed Sacrament



Readings at Mass (Saturday)

These readings are for the Vigil Mass on the evening before the feast:

First reading
1 Chronicles 15:3-4,15-16,16:1-2 ©
David gathered all Israel together to bring the ark of God up to the place he had prepared for it. David called together the sons of Aaron and the sons of Levi. And the Levites carried the ark of God with the shafts on their shoulders, as Moses had ordered in accordance with the word of the Lord.
  David then told the heads of the Levites to assign duties for their kinsmen as cantors, with their various instruments of music, harps and lyres and cymbals, to play joyful tunes.
  They brought the ark of God in and put it inside the tent that David had pitched for it; and they offered holocausts before God, and communion sacrifices. And when David had finished offering holocausts and communion sacrifices, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord.

Psalm 131:6-7,9-10,13-14 ©
Go up, Lord, to the place of your rest, you and the ark of your strength.
At Ephrata we heard of the ark;
  we found it in the plains of Yearim.
‘Let us go to the place of his dwelling;
  let us go to kneel at his footstool.’
Go up, Lord, to the place of your rest, you and the ark of your strength.
Your priests shall be clothed with holiness;
  your faithful shall ring out their joy.
For the sake of David your servant
  do not reject your anointed.
Go up, Lord, to the place of your rest, you and the ark of your strength.
For the Lord has chosen Zion;
  he has desired it for his dwelling:
‘This is my resting-place for ever;
  here have I chosen to live.’
Go up, Lord, to the place of your rest, you and the ark of your strength.

Second reading
1 Corinthians 15:54-57 ©
When this perishable nature has put on imperishability, and when this mortal nature has put on immortality, then the words of scripture will come true: Death is swallowed up in victory. Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting? Now the sting of death is sin, and sin gets its power from the Law. So let us thank God for giving us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Gospel AcclamationLk11:28
Alleluia, alleluia!
Happy are those
who hear the word of God
and keep it.

GospelLuke 11:27-28 ©
As Jesus was speaking, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said, ‘Happy the womb that bore you and the breasts you sucked!’ But he replied, ‘Still happier those who hear the word of God and keep it!’

These readings are for the day of the feast itself:

First reading
Apocalypse 11:19,12:1-6,10 ©
The sanctuary of God in heaven opened and the ark of the covenant could be seen inside it. Then came flashes of lightning, peals of thunder and an earthquake, and violent hail.
  Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman, adorned with the sun, standing on the moon, and with the twelve stars on her head for a crown. She was pregnant, and in labour, crying aloud in the pangs of childbirth. Then a second sign appeared in the sky, a huge red dragon which had seven heads and ten horns, and each of the seven heads crowned with a coronet. Its tail dragged a third of the stars from the sky and dropped them to the earth, and the dragon stopped in front of the woman as she was having the child, so that he could eat it as soon as it was born from its mother. The woman brought a male child into the world, the son who was to rule all the nations with an iron sceptre, and the child was taken straight up to God and to his throne, while the woman escaped into the desert, where God had made a place of safety ready, for her to be looked after in the twelve hundred and sixty days.
  Then I heard a voice shout from heaven, ‘Victory and power and empire for ever have been won by our God, and all authority for his Christ, now that the persecutor, who accused our brothers day and night before our God, has been brought down.’

Psalm 44:10-12,16 ©
On your right stands the queen, in garments of gold.
  The daughters of kings are among your loved ones.
  On your right stands the queen in gold of Ophir.
Listen, O daughter, give ear to my words:
  forget your own people and your father’s house.
On your right stands the queen, in garments of gold.
So will the king desire your beauty:
  He is your lord, pay homage to him.
They are escorted amid gladness and joy;
  they pass within the palace of the king.
On your right stands the queen, in garments of gold.

Second reading
1 Corinthians 15:20-26 ©
Christ has been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of all who have fallen asleep. Death came through one man and in the same way the resurrection of the dead has come through one man. Just as all men die in Adam, so all men will be brought to life in Christ; but all of them in their proper order: Christ as the first-fruits and then, after the coming of Christ, those who belong to him. After that will come the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, having done away with every sovereignty, authority and power. For he must be king until he has put all his enemies under his feet and the last of the enemies to be destroyed is death, for everything is to be put under his feet.

Gospel Acclamation
Alleluia, alleluia!
Mary has been taken up to heaven;
all the choirs of angels are rejoicing.

GospelLuke 1:39-56 ©
Mary set out and went as quickly as she could to a town in the hill country of Judah. She went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. Now as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She gave a loud cry and said, ‘Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord? For the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy. Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.’
  And Mary said:
‘My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord
and my spirit exults in God my saviour;
because he has looked upon his lowly handmaid.
Yes, from this day forward all generations will call me blessed,
for the Almighty has done great things for me.
Holy is his name,
and his mercy reaches from age to age for those who fear him.
He has shown the power of his arm,
he has routed the proud of heart.
He has pulled down princes from their thrones and exalted the lowly.
The hungry he has filled with good things, the rich sent empty away.
He has come to the help of Israel his servant, mindful of his mercy
– according to the promise he made to our ancestors –
of his mercy to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.’
Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then went back home.





Readings at Mass (Sunday)

First readingProverbs 9:1-6 ©
Wisdom has built herself a house,
  she has erected her seven pillars,
she has slaughtered her beasts, prepared her wine,
  she has laid her table.
She has despatched her maidservants
  and proclaimed from the city’s heights:
‘Who is ignorant? Let him step this way.’
  To the fool she says,
‘Come and eat my bread,
  drink the wine I have prepared!
Leave your folly and you will live,
  walk in the ways of perception.’

Psalm 33:2-3,10-15 ©
Taste and see that the Lord is good.
I will bless the Lord at all times,
  his praise always on my lips;
in the Lord my soul shall make its boast.
  The humble shall hear and be glad.
Taste and see that the Lord is good.
Revere the Lord, you his saints.
  They lack nothing, those who revere him.
Strong lions suffer want and go hungry
  but those who seek the Lord lack no blessing.
Taste and see that the Lord is good.
Come, children, and hear me
  that I may teach you the fear of the Lord.
Who is he who longs for life
  and many days, to enjoy his prosperity?
Taste and see that the Lord is good.
Then keep your tongue from evil
  and your lips from speaking deceit.
Turn aside from evil and do good;
  seek and strive after peace.
Taste and see that the Lord is good.

Second reading
Ephesians 5:15-20 ©
Be very careful about the sort of lives you lead, like intelligent and not like senseless people. This may be a wicked age, but you redeem it. And do not be thoughtless but recognise what is the will of the Lord. Do not drug yourselves with wine, this is simply dissipation; be filled with the Spirit. Sing the words and tunes of the psalms and hymns when you are together, and go on singing and chanting to the Lord in your hearts, so that always and everywhere you are giving thanks to God who is our Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Gospel AcclamationJn1:14,12
Alleluia, alleluia!
The Word was made flesh and lived among us:
to all who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God.
Alleluia, alleluia!
He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood
lives in me, and I live in him,
says the Lord.

GospelJohn 6:51-58 ©
Jesus said to the Jews:
‘I am the living bread which has come down from heaven.
Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever;
and the bread that I shall give is my flesh,
for the life of the world.’
Then the Jews started arguing with one another: ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ they said. Jesus replied:
‘I tell you most solemnly,
if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood,
you will not have life in you.
Anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood
has eternal life,
and I shall raise him up on the last day.
For my flesh is real food
and my blood is real drink.
He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood
lives in me
and I live in him.
As I, who am sent by the living Father,
myself draw life from the Father,
so whoever eats me will draw life from me.
This is the bread come down from heaven;
not like the bread our ancestors ate:
they are dead,
but anyone who eats this bread will live for ever.’

Transcript of “Flesh of My Flesh” – Assumption & 20th Sunday OT 2015

[LYRICS] Out in the country,
Far from all the soot and noise of the city,
There’s a village green.
It’s been a long time
Since I last set eyes on the church with the steeple
Down by the village green.
[Father Young]
And today is the feast day, the solemn feast, the 15th of August, of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s assumption, body and soul, into heaven. And tomorrow, too, I’m going to preach on this important aspect of our faith, the role of Mary as the model of what it means to be a disciple. And she’s also the pattern of holiness that the Church must follow so we can enter into heaven.

Now, I was talking with some of my brother priests earlier this week, and they’re saying, “Oh, how are you going to tie that to the bread of life, the Eucharist?” right? We’re hearing the bread of life discourse for many months. And I shared last week about the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. And believe it or not, I will tie together the importance of Mary, the mother of God, and the flesh and blood we receive in the Eucharist. You’ll see some connections here.

First, what is the best image that I’ve come across to articulate the role of Mary, especially the dogma that is proclaimed and that we commemorate today, that she has been assumed, both body and soul, already to heaven? Other than Christ, she’s the only creature that has bodily already preceded us into heaven. When our loved ones have passed away, we long for the resurrection of the body. But our souls are in purgatory, then to heaven. But we wait for the bodily resurrection.

But with Mary, she’s already bodily in heaven, okay? So that’s the uniqueness there. A lot of times, people think the assumption of Mary is that we assume she’s in heaven, okay? No, I can assume or I can longingly expect to see my grandma or my grandpa in heaven, okay? That’s not what the dogma of Mary is about here.

So what’s the image that, as I said, that I like to use is the image of one of the titles she’s had. And we sing it in a lot of those Marian hymns. And it’s in Latin, it’s Stella Maris. In Latin, that means star of the sea. But it’s also a play on her name because Mary comes from Miriam in the Old Testament. Marian [inaudible 00:02:37] here too, okay? All of it comes from the same Hebrew name, Miriam, which means from the water or from the sea.

And so the Latin phrase Stella Maris had a whole bunch of connotations. But the long and short of it is this, and it’s analogy for our spiritual life here on earth, that while we’re on earth, we are pilgrims on the earth, yes, or we’re seafarers, like we’re on a journey. But we’re ultimately going to a final destination. We have our home. We have Eden where we’re from. But ultimately, our final home, our final resting place is heaven.

And so the image of a seafaring journey was used often in the tradition of the church. And so when Mary’s called the Star of the Sea, the Stella Maris, it’s reminded that in the old days, when they used to travel at sea, the only way safely to get from one side to the other of an ocean or sea was to use the stars to navigate, right? Long before there was clocks and longitude-latitude, you had to use the stars. And if you had a clear night and you could see the brightest stars, the brightest star in the sky was the Star of the Sea, the True North, right? And that was the Stella Maris. And if you keep your eyes fixed on it, you can safely get to your destination.

So that’s one of the images that I love, and our Knights of Columbus, we use that. That’s why you have the anchor on your logo, okay? This idea that the anchor represents hope, the theological virtue, but also represents the Blessed Virgin Mary, who keeps us on the right path, because we know that if we follow her example, one day, we’ll become saints too in heaven, because our mother will gently guide us there and protect us.

A few other important images, and I’ll just draw on a few scripture passages that speak to Mary’s role as the model disciple and also the model of what it means to be the Catholic church here on earth. And you can tell this is something I could speak hours about, as I have. Mary is the most tender and my most loving topic I like to share about, outside of Christ, is the role of Mary in our lives because of my own story, which I won’t get into. But I just know that she’s always been there, gently pointing me to Jesus, her son.

One of the other images we have, and I read in the gospel story, when Mary goes to visit Elizabeth, her cousin. And we have this incident where John the Baptist, the baby, is leaping in the womb, okay? So just a little bit of context, which is something that is quite profound. In the Old Testament, remember when Moses is given the laws, the Ten Commandments, the tablets? And they placed them in the Ark of the Covenant. It’s this beautiful gold carrying case. And the Israelite people believed that the Ark of the Covenant is really the word of God, it’s the law of God, was inscribed on tablets. And the people would believe that almost God was dwelling with them whenever that law, the word inscribed on tablets, was in their midst, that God was there with them.

And there’s a story with David. It’s a weird story, if you just take it out of context. But they’re bringing the Ark of the Covenant, with the stone tablets, into the city. And David strips down naked, like the day he was born. And he’s dancing with joy. And his wife gets jealous, and all this stuff happens. And they ask David, “Why are you leaping for joy?” He says, “Because our lord has come to dwell under our roof, pitched his tabernacle, pitched his tents, in our midst. Our Lord comes to the humblest little tent. And that brings joy.”

Okay, so you flash forward to the story that we just read of Elizabeth and Mary, what happens here? You have a child, the last prophet, really, just like David before, but the last prophet, John the Baptist, in his own mother’s womb, is leaping for joy. Because what? The word actually that was inscribed in flesh, God himself, has come to dwell under her house.

And the next little image you need to understand. Why is Mary so important? Why is Mary so important? Because as this beautiful creature without sin, she always says yes to God. There’s one of the stories in the gospel where . . . And if you read it wrong, people think it’s something insulting even to speak of Mary. And it’s when he goes to his hometown, and they say, “Lord, your mother and your brothers and sisters, they’re all here waiting for you.” And Jesus says something, he says, “No, my mother and my brothers and sisters are those who hear the word of God and obey it, listen to it.” And it’s not an insult to Mary. In fact, what he’s doing is he’s saying, “Ah, if only you were like my mother.” Why? Because, okay, we can hear God say lots of stuff to us, right? There’s a difference between hearing and listening. You can tell your grandchildren, as I’ve shared with you, you can say a lot of things to them, they can hear you, yeah, yeah, yeah. But if they listen to it, like “Go clean your room,” they say “Yes,” and they go do it, right? Okay, they obey it. In Latin, obedire means to listen, not just to hear, but obedire means to listen to, right?

So when we say Mary, not only did she hear God’s plan, God’s love story, love plan, and his promise that from you will be born the Messiah. She heard it. And not knowing completely how it’s going to work out, but trusting in faith of God, she obeyed it.

And what happened to God’s word? It wasn’t even just inscribed on tablets or wood or stone. It took flesh in her life. The word became flesh, and he pitched his tent amongst us.

So Mary, you see, her obedience, she is the greatest disciple. She’s the first disciple. She’s the greatest. So when we look to Mary, when we ask for her help to bless our families, to protect us, to guide us, we see in her the model of what it means to say yes to the word of God. And what happens when we say yes to God? Our lives are never the same. They’re changed. The word actually takes flesh in our life, and we become more like Christ.

So friends, as we continue this feast day and this beautiful weekend, we celebrate the role of Mary. May we say yes like her. May we keep our eyes fixed on her, because she’ll lead us to our heavenly homeland, where Christ himself, who took flesh and blood from Mary herself . . . Remember, I said how I’m going to tie this together. You got to think about this. Even biologically, the flesh and blood, the very genetics from the human. Jesus is divine, but he’s human. The genetics of who Jesus was was a human came from his mother, his mother. So when she looked down upon her child or Joseph looked upon the Son of God, he had the features of the blessed mother. She could look down and actually see the face of God but also see her own family, her own blood line being taken up by her son, Jesus Christ.

This is a profound mystery. That same flesh and blood that feeds us in the Eucharist every time we come, which is true food, true drink, that brings life to the world. So Mother Mary, we ask that you protect us, that you guide us, so that we, feeding on the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ, will reach the safe shores of our heavenly home.




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