August 15, 2021
A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun,
with the moon under her feet,
and on her head a crown of twelve stars.
She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth.
Brothers and Sisters,
Blessed Feast of the Assumption!
The book of Revelation is rich with imagery and guideposts for the reader, often missed when viewed with a contemporary mindset—attributed to the apostle and evangelist John; the work shares several similarities with other parts of the Bible. For instance, like Paul’s letters, Revelations is addressed to the seven fledgling Christian communities. And like the Gospels, though less of a linear narrative of Jesus’ life, the work purports to reveal Christ and his message from God the Father, focusing on the impact of Jesus’ presence in time and space. And like the prophetic books of the Old Testament, John attempts to draw his readers into conversion, recognizing the implications of Jesus’ presence and the transformative vision of the new Kingdom he preaches.
This great sign described in today’s 1st reading happens to be one of the most depicted scenes in Christian art. (A worthy exercise is to gaze at one of these renowned paintings and then revisit the sacred text.) The woman, appearing in the sky, poetically depicted as clothed with the sun and the moon at her feet, is typically identified as Mary, the Mother God. Here we find her willingly cooperating so that Jesus is made incarnate, becoming human by the power of the Holy Spirit. Yet let’s also remember this woman is a symbol of the entire people of God. From the 12 Tribes of Israel to the new faithful, the Church. Apostle Paul, in a voice comparable to Revelations, called the Church “the Jerusalem above…our mother.” (Galatians 4:26) It’s essential to recognize that the Book of Revelation doesn’t treat the Mysteries of Christ as stationary past events but moments of grace that impact for all of time and eternity. And per her usual servant heart, the woman, Mary, points us to the abiding presence of her son Jesus and his commitment to lead us into his eternal Kingdom. As members of that very Kingdom, the Lord trusts us, his sons and daughters, to bring others to know him. We can do this by receiving the Lord in his Word and through the gift of the Eucharist — then living our lives with intention, proclaiming the glorious workings of the Lord in our words and deeds!
This coming week, perhaps this simple prayer as a reminder, Lord, may our Mother intercede for us and guide us in our mission as we strive to introduce others to her son, Jesus!
St. Joseph, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts, forever.
Rev. Michael S. Triplett