The following Homily is provided by Friar Sidney as a way
of enriching the ministry of the Word as presented through
this web site. Friar Sidney, who has spent much of his
ministry in India, is currently a Professor of Philosophy
in Rome. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The texts
used by Friar Sydney come from the Roman Lectionary - which in
most points agrees with the Revised Common Lectionary.
Revelation 11:19, 12:1-6, 10; I Corinthians 15:20-26. Luke 1:39-56
Today is Independence Day in India, a land that is Mother to many
people, mentalities, religions and languages. Today the Roman
Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of the Assumption of our
Lady. Let us remember India. Let us delve into this great
mystery of a woman's assumption into Heaven.
Most cultures, even today, are elusive with regard to women.
In Greek mythology, woman was 'Penia', or 'Want'. Man was
'Poros', or 'Fulness' and 'Wealth'. Plato and Aristotle never
included woman into their scheme of human society. Woman lacked
volition and intelligence. They were certainly not capable of
achieving any equilibrium and good.
Indian society has had some shining examples of women all through
its history right down to our present days. But in daily life
and in the average family, woman are kept as handmaids of their
husbands. The practice of 'Sati', illegal though it is, was
based on the idea that a woman formed part of her husband's self.
She had no right to exist apart from her husband. Why, the
number of female feticides performed even today in India is
Even Hebrew society, though it had some very astounding women on
the national scene, never actually treated women with the respect
that is their due.
Today's readings speak of great signs and symbols that fill the
sky, our horizon. Signs and symbols are truths about an unseen
reality. Something is being thrown together before our eyes, but
unfortunately, because of our defective vision, we only see it
dimly and in part.
There are many things that strike me in these readings.
First and foremost is the fact that God works through woman for
the good of human kind and His universe. In God's eyes, woman is
no less a partner of His than man. Does this not really puncture
our male ego of its sense of greatness and importance?
A second fact is that woman is equally important to man in the
fulfilment of Creation, Redemption and Sanctification. All the
readings are about women and God's creative, redemptive and
salvific action through them.
A third fact is that woman is pregnant and labouring. She is
crying aloud in the pangs of childbirth. Even today, the vast
majority of them are pregnant and labouring, crying aloud in the
pangs and hope of human dignity.
A fourth fact is that although she is considered lowly in our
society, God exalts her. God does great and wondrous things
A fifth fact is that in God's eyes, man and woman are not
competitors. In God's eyes, both Man and Woman are His partners.
Consequently, man and woman are also partners of each other. To
each a task. To each a fruit.
Perhaps, the greatest challenge of the Feast of the Assumption
is this: woman has her task and fruit to bear forth in human
society. She has her future that is as heavenly as that of every
Do we Christians, at least, realize and foster the dignity of
woman as God is showing us through these great signs and symbols?
copyright - Friar Sydney Mascarenhas and Rev. Richard J. Fairchild 1999 - 2006
please acknowledge the appropriate author if citing these sermons.