St Michael and All Angels

Observatory, Cape Town

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Feast of the Assumption 2019 : Fr Tony Hogg

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In Revelations we read of the vision of the struggle between the woman and the dragon. The figure of the
woman, representing the Church, is, on the one hand, glorious and triumphant, and yet on the other, still in
travail. This is a perfect picture of how the Church has always been; struggling with the trials of tribulations and
challenges between God and the evil one, the perennial enemy.
And in the struggle which all 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 God and of the Church is always with us. And in a
way, Mary shares this dual condition. She has already of course entered, once and for all, into heavenly glory.
But this does not mean that she is detached or distance from us; rather Mary accompanies us, struggles with us,
sustains Christians in their fight against the evil forces of the world.
We need to remember that the Solemnity of the Assumption also reaffirms our belief in the resurrection. Our
whole faith is based on 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. 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 has experienced the martyrdom of the Cross; the martyrdom of her heart, the martyrdom of her soul. She
lived her Son’s passion in the heart of her soul. She was fully united with him in his death, and so she was given
the gift of the resurrection. Christ is the first fruits from the dead and Mary is the first of the redeemed, the first
of “those who are in Christ”. She is indeed 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 arrived in heaven.
The other word to reflect on today on this Solemnity is ‘hope.’ Hope is the virtues of those who, experiencing
conflict – the struggle between life and death, good and evil – believe in the resurrection of Christ, in the victory
of love. We heard the song of Mary, the Magnificat; it is the song of hope, it is the song of the People of God
walking through history. It is the song of, any saints, men and women, some famous, and very many others
unknown to us but known to God; mums, dads, missionaries, nuns, priests, sisters, young people, grandparents;
these have faced the struggle of life while carrying in their heart the hope of the little and the humble. Mary
says: ‘My soul glorifies the Lord’-today, the Church too sings this in every part of the world. It is particularly
strong in those parts of the world where our brothers and sisters in Christ face persecution for their faith, but
they still glorify the Lord in living hope. Like them, wherever the Cross is, there is hope, ALWAYS. If there is no
hope then we are not Christian; we must not allow ourselves to be robbed of hope, because this strength is a
grace, a gift from God which carries us forward with our eyes fixed on heaven. And Mary is always there, near
those communities, our brothers, our sisters, she accompanies them, suffers with them, and sings the
Magnificat of hope with them.
So, good people, as we go from the joy of this Solemnity, let us with all our heart unite ourselves to this song of
hope, of patience and victory, of struggle and joy, that unites the triumphant Church with the pilgrim one, on
earth with heaven, and that joins our lives to the eternity towards which we journey.


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