Ark of the Covenant
(Assumption: 1 Chron. 15:3-4,15-16 to 16:1-2; 1 Cor. 15:54-57; Luke 11:27-28. NOTE: These readings are for the Vigil Mass.)
It was a great and festive day in Jerusalem! The Ark of the Covenant was coming home, as the first reading tells us, “to the place which David had prepared for it.” Today we celebrate Mary, the Ark of the New Covenant, as she is taken up to the place which the Father prepared for her in heaven.
Just as the Ark built by Moses was the great sign of God’s presence among his people, so the Virgin’s womb brought the Son of God among us. In today’s Gospel, a woman in the crowd called out to Jesus, saying, “Blessed is the womb that carried you!” She was perhaps the first to fulfill the Virgin’s own prophecy, uttered in her Magnificat: “All generations will call me blessed.”
It is because Mary was assumed into heaven that we have her apparition at La Salette (amongst others). Her radiance as the Queen of Heaven, is the light of Christ shining out from her. Everything in the apparition ultimately points to Christ. Here, too, she is the Ark, bringing her Son to her people yet again.
The Beautiful Lady echoes Jesus’ reply to the woman of the Gospel, “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it,” with her own words, “If they are converted.” She promises all kinds of graces, and mercy in abundance.
The Assumption reflects St. Paul’s words in the second reading, “Death is swallowed up in victory.” La Salette shows the tragic connection between sin and death, but at the same time offers the means of triumphing over both. How do we partake of this victory? A good starting place is to observe the commandments preserved on stone tablets in the original Ark of the Covenant.
If you have been to La Salette and taken part in the candlelight procession at night, you have probably experienced the special enthusiasm that accompanies the singing of the La Salette Angelus and the end of the service. It is like David’s command to the musicians and singers “to make a loud sound of rejoicing.”
May our love for Our Lady of La Salette be always a source of joy in our hearts.
Wayne Vanasse, and Fr. René Butler, M.S.