Monday September 12, 2005 Homily by Fr. Robert Altier Most Holy Name of Mary
Reading (1 Timothy 2:1-8) Gospel (St. Luke 7:1-10)
In the first reading today, Saint Paul tells Timothy that there is only one mediator between God and men, and that is the man Jesus Christ. The reason why Jesus is the sole mediator between God and us is because He alone is both God and man. He is fully God and He is fully man, consequently, He has one foot in each camp, if you want to think of it that way. The mediator is the go-between, the one who can operate between the two extremes, and that is exactly who He is.
That, however, does not mean that no one else is able to mediate. All other mediation is dependent upon that of Christ, but when we look at the Gospel reading, we see what really needs to be our own attitude. That is, the centurion says, “I did not consider myself worthy to come to you, therefore I sent others.” We see, then, that as we speak the same words as the centurion right before we receive Communion – Lord, I am not worthy – we really need to ponder this. Are we really worthy of ourselves to come before Our Lord?
This is precisely what the feast we celebrate today is all about: the Holy Name of our Blessed Lady. This is a feast that had been suppressed back in 1970 with the liturgical reforms and has now been put back in, thanks be to God, so that we can celebrate and honor Our Blessed Lady in this way. The name speaks of the person and who the person is. At the same time, there is power in this holy name. The names of Jesus and Mary are the two names the demons cannot tolerate, and they are the two names with more power than anything else in this world. If we will call upon the name of Our Lady and ask her intercession for us with her Son then we can be guaranteed that our Mother is going to be praying for us.
What a blessing is the fact that not only do we have Our Lord mediating for us with His heavenly Father, but that we have Our Blessed Lady interceding for us with her Son. What that means is that we are not going before the Lord ourselves. Recognizing ourselves to be unworthy, we will ask someone else to present our prayer before the Lord. That person is Our Lady. The wonderful thing is she is also our Mother. Her heart is open to us, but she is the mother of the King, and so her heart, of course, is open to Him. What a perfect person to be the one to bring all of our petitions to the Lord. It means that our prayers, as imperfect as they are, do not go directly to the Lord but rather they go to Our Lady, who then purifies our prayers, adds her own perfect prayer to ours, and then presents that to her Son. And so what is presented to Our Lord is a prayer which is perfect, a prayer which is far greater than anything we would ever be able to do. Even if we started praying right now and prayed until the day we die, it is still going to be less than one prayer from Our Blessed Lady. When she adds her prayer to ours, it augments it and perfects it. It is this mediation, this intercession that Our Lady does for us just as we do for one another when we pray for one another, except far more efficacious, far more perfect than what any of us or even all of us combined would be able to do for one another.
As we see these truths laid out before us about the reality that there is only one Mediator, there is only One Who is fully God and fully man but we also have ourselves (who share in the divine nature and therefore can mediate) and we have Our Lady who is the Mother of God and who is the Mother of each and every one of us. She also has that little position where she too can intercede and mediate for us. So as we celebrate this wonderful feast for the first time in nearly 40 years, what a glorious thing to consider what it means and the power of her holy name to bring us victory, and to pray to her and ask her intercession – especially in this time when all hell has been released upon the earth so that the demons are causing more havoc than ever before. Now we have this feast established once again where the power of Our Blessed Lady’s name will help us to crush the vile head of Satan in all the temptations that he levels against us as she intercedes for us before the throne of her Divine Son to obtain for us the grace that we need to fight against sin and ultimately to be saved from Satan’s temptation so we can live with God forever.
* This text was transcribed from the audio recording of a homily by Father Robert Altier with minimal editing.