Wednesday, August 15th, is the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is a Holy Day of Obligation or, as I heard one priest refer to Holy Days, a Holy Day of Opportunity. This is a feast that has not been with us for a long time. “After the horrors of the Second World War, after the death camps, after the first use of nuclear weapons, we Christians needed to remind ourselves of the holiness of creation. In 1950, Pope Pius XII declared what Catholics had long believed: After Mary’s death, God raised her body. She lives with God forever. On Assumption Day we rejoice that this broken world will be made new again. The barren, the poor, the unloved and even the dead will be raised into glory” (Companion to the Calendar, Mary Ellen Hynes). Mass will be celebrated at 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. I hope you will take this “opportunity” to celebrate this feast of Mary.
Last year Bishop Finn made a series of promises to the people of our diocese. One was to appoint an ombudsman to independently investigate reports of abuse, suspicious or inappropriate behavior or sexual misconduct. The ombudsman for our diocese is Jenifer Valenti. Jenifer has recently submitted a report on the work she has done over the past year. Copies of the report are in the narthex (gathering space) of the church for anyone who would like to read the report. The report will also be included in the next edition of the Catholic KEY.
I like the different accounts in the Hebrew Scripture of the prophet Elijah. In today’s passage we see Elijah on the run from Queen Jezebel who has threatened to kill him. He is sitting under a broom tree and he has had enough. He is depressed, frustrated, and angry, feeling he deserves better than this. Ever had a time in your life like this?
God cuts short his indulgence in self-pity. An angel awakens Elijah and provides him food and water, not once but twice. Strengthened by God’s compassion Elijah is able to walk for forty days and forty nights. He is able to reach the Mount Horeb where God will appear to Elijah in a surprising way.
Today’s passage reminds me of how God continues to care for us. We are reminded in today’s Gospel that Jesus is the bread of life. We receive that bread in the Eucharist. Can you remember times in your life that others have helped you to go on? Perhaps they were at your bedside when you were sick. Maybe they were there to listen to you when you were depressed, frustrated, and angry. How will God ask you to be that angel for someone this week?