In Mary, we have the perfect example of a disciple who made herself available to the working of the Holy Spirit. This was stressed by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Pope’s Secretary of State, during a Mass for the Feast of the Assumption on Sunday in the Church of St. Joseph in Singapore.
The cardinal’s two-day visit to Singapore marked the final leg of his trip to Asia. Cardinal Parolin’s visit to Jakarta, Indonesia, was the first by a Secretary of State since 1950 when formal diplomatic relations were established between the two states. He traveled there while en route to East Timor, where Pope Francis had appointed the cardinal to be papal envoy for the 500th anniversary celebration of its evangelization on Aug. 15.
“With Our Lady as your guide, I believe the Archdiocese of Singapore will do great things for the Lord! The Mother of God protects us with the mantle of her maternal love; her intercession is a consolation for all her children, but also a prompt to ensure we stay close to her Son on our earthly pilgrimage,” the cardinal said in his homily.
As Christians gather as a Church to celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven, Cardinal Parolin said, “we are united, not only as the universal Church around the See of Peter, but also with the communion of saints as One Church.”
The day’s readings, the Vatican official underscored, “give us ‘tremendous hope’ as we contemplate our final destination; for a member of the human family has charted a way for all of us. Our Lady, in her Assumption, has this glorious privilege which encourages us on our earthly pilgrimage.”
“The wonderful gift of redemption is fully realized in the resurrection of the body,” he said, noting this Solemnity reminds us “that the corporeal world is also the subject of the redemption of Christ. The human person is not separated into a spiritual part and a bodily part. The human person is offered salvation integrally: both body and soul.”
Noting that this year Singapore commemorates 50 years of independence, the Vatican Secretary of State said, “As Our Lady’s Assumption is not the end of salvation history but the beginning, so also, the next fifty years calls for the Church in Singapore to help chart a way forward for herself and in her service of society.”
While much has been achieved over the span of fifty years, he acknowledged, he added that the work is never finished and “the torch is passed on to a new generation of citizens.”
Cardinal Parolin also reminded those present that for almost 200 years the Church has been present in Singapore. “Against that backdrop,” he said, “today’s Gospel invites the Christian community to look with some urgency at new and creative ways of carrying forward the proclamation of the gospel of salvation in a changing society,” such as addressing the new challenges that emerge in a “globalized” and more connected world and offering practical assistance “to an emerging reality in need of guidance.”
Pope Francis, he reaffirmed, has called the Church to live up to her mission of going forth and out of herself, noting he “reminds all of us that the task of every Christian is to be a missionary; to be a missionary especially to the margins and at the peripheries of our societies.”
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