Monday August 22, 2005 Homily by Fr. Robert Altier†† Queenship of Mary
Reading (1 Thessalonians 1:1-5, 8b-10)††† Gospel (St. Matthew 23:13-22)
In the first reading today, Saint Paul speaks to the Thessalonians and reminds them of the way that they were chosen, that it was not in word alone but it also in conviction and by the power of the Holy Spirit; and it is in these two manners, the Word of God and the Holy Spirit, that they turned from idols to serve the living God. Today as we celebrate Our Ladyís queenship, we recognize that it is precisely by these two means, by the Word of God and by the Holy Spirit, that she is who she is. It is the Holy Spirit, in fact, Who conceived within her the Word of God so that He became flesh and dwelt among us. As our Blessed Lady then lived her entire life with conviction and in the power of the Holy Spirit to bring into this world the Word of God, so then when the end of her life came, which we celebrated eight days ago with the Assumption, the final victory of our Blessed Mother over death, so now on this octave day we celebrate her queenship, that it is through her Son, the Word of God, and the power of the Holy Spirit that God has taken her to heaven.
This idea that our Blessed Mother is the queen of heaven and, of course, the queen of earth as well, we need to consider because it comes from the Old Testament monarchy. There is a passage (I think it is in 2 Chronicles, but I am not positive) about Solomon who is just made the king in place of his father, David; and Solomonís mother, Bathsheba, comes into the royal throne room. In the ancient times, even the kingís mother would have to bow down before the king. In this case, the king, Solomon, got up from his throne and bowed down before his mother and ordered that a second throne be set up right next to his. From that moment until the end of the monarchy in Israel, the mother of the king always sat on a throne right next to her son and she became the queen mother.
The idea of the queen mother is one who would always intercede for the people. If she thought the king was too harsh in his judgment, she would intervene. She would plead for the sake of the person whom she thought might have been treated too harshly. With a motherís heart, she would be able to seek the good of the people. She would also intervene for different things that she thought were necessary within the country and within the situation that the people were dealing with. She would pray for the people, in essence, and ask the king for certain things on behalf of the people.
Well, if we listen again to what Our Lord condemned in the Gospel reading today, He condemns the scribes and Pharisees and calls them hypocrites because they lock the kingdom of heaven and not only do they not enter there themselves but they block anyone who would want to enter. Our Lady does just the opposite. She has entered heaven and she prays before the throne of God for all of her children so that they too will be able to enter. We see that what Our Lady is doing then is precisely what we see the queen mother doing in ancient Israel. She is seated on a throne right next to her Son, and there she intercedes for those who are in need, for those who come to her, and even for those who do not, because they are her children. She will pray for them. She will intercede and seek mercy. She will look for the grace and the favors that her children need and pray to obtain them from God for her children. She will seek their salvation, their conversion, and so on. This is precisely what all of us are supposed to be doing.
It is in this way that Our Lady is the Mediatrix of all graces, that as she intercedes for us before the throne of God, every single grace that God gives to the world is given through Our Lady Ė every last one. So she exercises her queenship not in some sort of selfish power, but just the opposite: in service to those entrusted to her care. This is exactly how Jesus exercises His kingship, so too, Our Lady exercises her queenship in this way. We need to recognize, once again, the favor that has been given not only to Our Lady but to us, that our mother is also the queen. That puts us in a pretty good position. If your mother has all this authority then you know that you can go to her, and whatever it is that you need, she will obtain for you. It is wonderful not only to look at Our Lady objectively as the queen, but how much more wonderful that we can look at her subjectively as our mother who is the queen, knowing that she is right there at the throne of God interceding for us, obtaining for us the grace and favors that we need to be able to live a holy life, to be able to convert ourselves completely to her Son, and praying for the salvation of our souls so that we can spend eternity with her in glorification of her Son, in union with the holy angels and saints to praise the favors of the Lord given first and foremost to His mother, and then through her intercession and through the mercy of God to allow us to share in that glory.
*† This text was transcribed from the audio recording of a homily by Father Robert Altier with minimal editing.