HOMILY for the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
preached at a ‘Missa Cantata’ in the Dominican rite celebrated in Mount St Mary’s College, Spinkhill during ‘Spode Music Week’.Sirach 24:7-15a; Luke 10:38-42
In Our Lady’s month of May, earlier this year, I found myself on Mount Sion. “His holy mountain, beautiful in elevation, is the joy of all the earth”, says the psalmist (48:1b-2). For Sion is the holy hill of God, one of the summits around which the ancient and holy city of Jerusalem is built, and it is lauded in same psalm as the “true pole of the earth”. In today’s first reading from the Wisdom of Ben Sira, Sion is synonymous with the city of Jerusalem itself; it is called, again in psalm 48, the “city of the great King”. For although Sion is now outside the walls of modern Jerusalem, at the time of king David, it was the summit of his royal city. Indeed, he is believed to be buried there. And at the time of Christ and the apostles, Sion was encircled by the walls of Jerusalem, and had become a fairly affluent area.
And it is here, on Mount Sion that Christ came away to an upper room, in the home of a wealthy disciple probably, to institute the Last Supper, that perpetual sacrifice of the Holy Mass that we too are celebrating now. It was in that same upper room that the apostles gathered in prayer after Christ’s Ascension. Together with Blessed Virgin Mary, as the Acts of the Apostles tells us, they were in this upper room when the Holy Spirit descended upon them in power. Truly, in this room, on Mount Sion, Christ’s holy Church, his mystical Body on earth, was born, in order to extend, through the sacraments, Christ’s salvation and grace throughout all time and among all peoples on earth. Truly, then, is Mount Sion, now synonymous with the Church herself, called the “joy of all the earth”, for from Sion the joy of salvation is first experienced and tasted – a joy that we now share through this Holy Mass.