Memorial of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary – August 22
A Reading from the Gospel of Luke (1:26-38)
The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.
Today we celebrate the Queenship of Mary, 8 days after we celebrate the Solemnity of her Assumption to heaven. This feast was formally placed in the calendar in 1954 although the title Queen of Heaven has been used since the fourth century.
Just like the image of queens and royalties in Europe, many of us might also imagine and think that Mary as a queen is adorned with gold and precious jewels. Many of us might be imagining her seating on a golden throne, dressed in a golden dress with a golden crown on her head surrounded by a royal army inside a golden palace.
Well, I believe that Mary is none of those golden imaginations. Mary rather would prefer a simple one and an ordinary one as she was used to. Thus, her queenship is not about gold and jewels, throne and army, but rather, of attitudes of generosity, love and faith.
Our Gospel today reveals something to us as we celebrate her as our queen. Thus, in her simplicity and being an ordinary woman, she accepted God’s invitation extra-ordinarily because ‘she believed’. In her simplicity, Mary felt the trouble of being honored as favored by God. I am sure that Mary with her human emotions felt confused and afraid when the angel appeared before her. The revelation of the angel was difficult to understand, thus, she pondered in her heart the meaning of those.
These troubles, confusion and fear led her to ask in all honesty, “how can it be?” It was neither a question of defiance nor of doubts but of concern on how she would go about it. The answer she got was God’s promise, that God is with her.
This promise from God inspired Mary and motivated her to give her consent, her big YES to God. Mary was called by God to be the Mother of Jesus, and Mary responded with joy and confidence. Her response is out of gratitude to God for being good to her and out of love and kindness for that was her experience with God. Everything became possible with God because Mary believed. Remember, God cannot and will not work wonders with us unless we give our consent and believe.
This is the invitation today for us, TO BELIEVE, because God reveals His presence in the events of our ordinary life. That day for Mary seemed to be just an ordinary day, but the revelation from the Angel just made the day anew.
TO BELIEVE, then, is to be constantly aware of God’s many revelations every single moment of our life. TO BELIEVE is to trust in the Lord’s Words despite our troubles and questions, worries and anxieties. Mary pondered in her heart what had been revealed to her.
TO BELIEVE in the Lord also means to be aware of the needs of others. Mary responded to God because her participation is vital for our salvation.TO BELIEVE is to listen to God’s invitation that through our life, God can make wonders, that through Mary’s simplicity, God brings forth creation.
TO BELIEVE also means being pregnant with God’s presence. Yes, God invites us today that our life, our words and actions, and our relationships with one another will become pregnant with His loving and compassionate presence.
Jom Baring, CSsR