Friday August 22, 2003 Homily by Fr. Robert Altier Queenship of Mary
Reading (Isaiah 9:1-6) Gospel (St. Luke 1:26-38)
In the first reading today, we hear from the prophet Isaiah about this king who is going to be raised up, and we hear about the child born for us: His dominion is vast and forever peaceful, from David’s throne and over his kingdom, which he sustains and confirms by judgment and justice, both now and forever. And so this child who is to be the king is going to be entirely different from any of the other kings that had been raised up in Israel. He is going to be the one who will be forever on the throne of David. When the angel Gabriel appears to our Blessed Lady, he says to her about the son to be born of her: He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end. So we see that we are talking about the same king in both of these situations.
Now the importance of the feast that we celebrate today must be understood in conjunction with the Kingship of Christ. As Jesus is King, so our Blessed Lady is Queen. In Israel, recall that, from the time of Solomon on, the mother of the king was seated on a throne right next to the king. And recall that all the people who would come to the royal throne room were supposed to bow down before the king. In this case, when Bathsheba, the mother of Solomon, walked into the royal throne room, the king got up from his throne and bowed down before his mother and ordered that a second throne would be set up right next to his at his right hand, and that would be the throne where his mother would be seated. From that point on, the queen mother would be seated right next to the king. She was to intercede for the people as they came through. And so any case that would come up, she had a right to intercede before the king, as he had to make his judgment with regard to the case of the particular individual.
And so as today we celebrate the octave day of our Blessed Lady’s Assumption into Heaven, and along with that octave recall that she has been exalted and glorified above all the angels and saints and has indeed become the very place of the dwelling of God because it is in her Immaculate Heart that God has found the most perfect glory and the most perfect love, therefore, it is the place in all of Heaven and earth that He has chosen to dwell in the greatest glory that can be offered to Him. That is the Queenship of our Blessed Lady.
It is there to glorify God, but her queenship is there for us as well – to intercede for us as she is seated on the throne right next to her Son. She is also our mother, which is a pretty wonderful thing for all of us. It is one thing to have a queen interceding for you who has no idea who you are and what your case is. It is a whole different matter when the queen happens to be your mother. She is going to be rather tenacious in defense of her children – thanks be to God! – because she wants us to be with her. She wants us to be with her Son so we can glorify Him with her forever. And so she is interceding before the throne of God for us. The fact of being queen is, on one hand, the position that we can recognize as her exaltation, higher than all of the angels and saints. But her position as queen is not about being exalted; it is about service; it is about worshiping God and serving the people. The royal office is one of service. And so Our Lady, while we exalt her above all else and so does God, recognizes that as mother and as queen that exaltation is so she can serve her children even more perfectly. And that is what she does for us, constantly intervening before the throne of God and interceding for her children.
This is a glorious day for each one of us. If we just think what we would do if our earthly mother was given a position of great honor and glory, how honored we would be and how we would rejoice for her, well, in this case, it is our heavenly mother, and because of the glorification that God has given to her, we rejoice in Him and we exalt Him, and we rejoice with her and what He has done for her, because indeed the Almighty has done great things for her and holy is His Name. He has indeed looked upon the lowliness of His servant and He has exalted her above all creation. The only person that she is lower than is God Himself. And God in His mercy has chosen to make her our mother, to make her our queen, and to give her the greatest exaltation so that she can exalt us and we will be able to be with her in glorifying Him in heaven and dwelling in her Immaculate Heart next to the throne of God for all eternity.
* This text was transcribed from the audio recording of a homily by Father Robert Altier with minimal editing.