August 22, 2012

HOMILY for the Queenship of Mary

Eze 24:1-11; Ps 22; Matt 20:1-16

In these last two days, St Matthew’s Gospel reminds us that “the first will be last, and the last, first”, and today’s feast illustrates this teaching concretely through the life of Mary of Nazareth. 

For Mary, silently pondering the Word and open to God’s will, is last of all God’s creatures. She is last because she is the most humble of God’s creatures, fully disposed to God’s plan of salvation, freely giving her Fiat, and so committing herself to her vocation to be Mother of Christ. Mary is last because she puts God’s goodness and providence first in her life, humbly entrusting herself to his justice and goodness. Thus we see her hope. When she questions the angel she does so in order to understand God’s wisdom better, she seeks to know his ways; she doesn’t question because she doubts and distrusts God, finding his ways ‘impossible’ and ‘unreasonable’, as we tend to do. Thus we see her humble faith. And with hope and faith, Mary makes herself last, so that she can make way for God and his grace to be first in her life, to fill her heart. She makes space for God, Love itself, to take flesh and swell her womb, and change her life. Thus we see that her great humility enables God’s charity to dwell in her and transform her. For God looked on the lowliness of his servant, Mary – on her being ‘last’ – and it was pleasing to him. Hence, he exalted Mary and made her first among all his creatures as Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ. And it is precisely because she is Mother of Christ that Our Lady is Queen; her queenship follows on from her divine motherhood.

Sometimes, Mary’s silence and humility, her receptivity to God’s grace and will is characterized as passivity. But, in truth, Mary’s humility requires great strength and an active will. Because Our Lady is not passive at all, but actively choosing God and saying ‘Yes’ to him with everything she does, every day of her life. Thus Mary freely chooses to trust God, to hope in him, and to love God each day of her life, and to co-operate with God’s grace so that she can be what God has called her to be: the Mother of Christ. Because she says ‘Yes’ to God so perfectly, placing herself last, so, she is first; she is our Queen. For in Mary, full of grace, humanity reaches its pinnacle and attains a royal dignity with God. But Mary’s queenship follows on from her motherhood, so her exaltation does not make her aloof from us.

For she is our Mother, given to us by Christ while he hung on the Cross. So, as our Queen she inspires us and shows us what humanity can attain when it co-operates with grace. And as our Mother she teaches us to trust God, to hope in him, and to love him first; she demonstrates the way of humility. As our Queen she intercedes for us and is our patroness. But as our Mother she actively works for our salvation, tenderly leading us towards her Son and our Redeemer; mediating those graces that enable us to say ‘Yes’ to God, as she did.

Christ promised the first and the last called into his vineyard the same reward. May Our Lady, the first in God’s kingdom, pray for us, that we may be made worthy of Christ’s promises so that, although we are last, we may receive the same reward as her, that is, the joys of eternal life. 

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