August 22, 2016

Mary's Queenship

August 22, 2016:  Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary

  • 'Clef' pin:  Sing to the Lord a new song (psalm)

  • 'Key' pin:  You hypocrites lock the Kingdom and don't let others enter (gospel)

  • Gold-colored accessories:  You blind guides say...  swearing by temple gold binds you (gospel)
  • 'Mary' pin, 'crown' tie bar:  Queenship of Mary
  • White and blue shirt:  white for today's memorial, plus "Blessed Mother blue"
(Oops; forgot to pack a tie today :-)

  • Mr. Big Stuff/ Knight, a song for the hypocrites Jesus warns (gospel)
From Handel's Messiah
For Psalm 113
For Psalm 96

    Pope Francis
    Angelus:  Luke tells us that on the way to Jerusalem a man asks Jesus whether only a few will be saved.  Jesus takes the discussion to another level, and at first the disciples don’t understand him:   "Enter through the narrow door; many will seek to enter but won't succeed."  It's not a question of numbers, but it's important everyone knows the door leading to salvation.  Jesus himself is the door.  He leads us in communion with the Father, where we find love, understanding, and protection.  It's narrow because it asks us to restrict our pride and fear, to open ourselves to him in humility and trust, as sinners needing forgiveness.  The door of God's mercy is narrow but always wide open for everyone!  His salvation is an unceasing flow of mercy that breaks down barriers and opens up perspectives of light and peace.  Narrow door, but always open.
    Today Jesus invites us to go to him, to cross the threshold of life, reconciled and happy.  He waits, no matter what sin we have committed, to embrace us, forgive us, transform us, give meaning to our existence, give us joy.  Upon entering the door of Jesus, faith, and the gospel, we leave behind worldly attitudes, bad habits, selfishness, and closing ourselves off.  When we contact God's love and mercy, there's real change, and the Holy Spirit illumines us.
    What prevents you from passing over the threshold:  pride, arrogance, sin?  Think about the door open to God’s mercy, and God waiting to forgive you.  Seize the opportunities the Lord offers to enter through the door of salvation; don't waste them.  Don't make salvation an academic discourse like the man did.  Life is serious, not a video game or soap opera; its goal, eternal salvation.  May we seize the opportunities he gives us to cross the threshold and enter the path of salvation, open to all who let themselves love and be loved.  Love saves;  love is a source of happiness to those who, forgetting themselves, give themselves to others, especially the weakest.
    For National Liturgical Week:  The Week's theme is "Liturgy as a place of Mercy."   When we live each liturgical event "with eyes fixed on Jesus and his merciful face we can see the Trinity's love....  Everything about Jesus speaks of mercy. "  "What was tangible our redeemer has passed in the sacraments" (Leo the Great).  This approach helps distinguish the liturgy as a place where mercy is given and encountered, where the mystery of reconciliation is made present, announced, celebrated, and communicated.
    The gift of Mercy particularly shines in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  The Father's compassion can't be locked up; it renews people and enables them to offer the same gift, arousing in them a desire and capacity for forgiveness.  We're called to this, especially in face of resentment, to unlock the joy of inner peace.
    Think of the rite of Penance as an expression of a "Church in output," as "door" to re-enter and "threshold" open to all in need of compassion.  It recreates the encounter with God's mercy from which come new people to preach the Gospel through a life reconciled and reconciling.  May the reflections and celebrations of this Week mature understanding of liturgy as source and summit of ecclesial and personal life full of mercy and compassion.

    • Is 9:1-6  The people in darkness have seen a great light, for a child is born to us; dominion rests on him.  They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace....
    • Ps 113:1-8  "Blessed be the name of the Lord for ever."  He raises the needy and seats the poor with princes.
    • Lk 1:26-38  God sent the angel Gabriel to a virgin, Mary, betrothed to Joseph:  “Hail!  The Lord is with you.”  Troubled, she pondered the greeting.  Angel / Mary:  “Don't fear; you've found favor with God.  You'll bear a son; name him Jesus.  He'll be called Son of the Most High, and God will give him David's throne, and he'll rule forever.” / “How?  I'm a virgin.” / “The Spirit will come upon you, and God's power will overshadow you.  Your relative Elizabeth has also conceived in her old age; nothing is impossible for God.” / “I'm the Lord's handmaid.   Let it be done to me.”

    • 2 Thes 1:1-5, 11-12  Thank God for you; your faith and love are growing.  We boast of and pray for you....
    • Ps 96:1-5  "Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations."  Sing to the Lord:  great, praiseworthy, awesome....
    • Mt 23:13-22  Jesus:  "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, blind guides!  You lock the Kingdom, neither entering nor letting others enter.  You work to make a convert then make him a child of Gehenna.  You say, ‘Swearing by the temple means nothing, but swearing by the temple's gold is binding.’  What's greater, the gold or the temple that made it sacred?  You say, ‘Swearing by the altar means nothing, swearing by the gift on the altar is binding.’  What's greater, the gift, or the altar that makes it sacred?...
    Pope's corner
    • "According to ancient tradition and the sacred liturgy, the main principle on which the royal dignity of Mary rests is... her Divine Motherhood…  But the Blessed Virgin Mary should be called Queen, not only because of her Motherhood but also because God willed her to have an exceptional role in the work of our salvation."  "The purpose of the Feast is that all may recognize... and venerate...  the merciful and motherly sovereignty of her who bore God in her womb."  (Pius XII, Ad Cæli Reginam, which also set the date as today, the octave of Mary's Assumption)
      • Creighton:  What gives value to a gift is the content, not the wrapping.  What gave value to the gold was the temple.  When we make externals more important, we risk religious fetishism.  May we look beyond externals to the deeper reality.  What gave Mary value and made her blessed among women was the One she was carrying, the Content.
      • One Bread, One Body:  "Famous faith":  The Lord wants us to have famous faith like the Thessalonians had.  May our families, parishes, and nations be famous for their faith.  We need deep faith.  When Jesus comes again, he'll look for our faith....
        Coronation of the Virgin/ Fra Angelico
      •  "Don't close the door to God's kingdom":  The Lord offers each of us an open door to God's kingdom, but we can shut ourselves out by ignoring or rejecting the offer.  God opened heaven to Jacob to offer him the blessing of dwelling in friendship with God.  God promised to bless and protect Jacob and to make him and his descendants a blessing to all the nations; he opened a door for him that brought him and his people into a new relationship with God.  Jesus proclaimed he came to fulfill Jacob's prophetic dream in his own person.  He is the door and the way that makes access to God's throne possible.  But Jesus warned the religious leaders that they were shutting the door on themselves and others.  'Woe' expresses pity, grief, and sadness.  Jesus was angry they didn't listen to God's word and they misled the people, leading them to ideas, rules, and practices God didn't intend or require.  Jesus also chastised them for their hypocrisy.  Jews treated an oath to God as binding, but Pharisees found clever ways to evade their obligations, forgetting God hears our every word and sees our heart.  They preferred their idea of religion to God's.  They shut their hearts and minds to the truth of God's kingdom through their pride and prejudice.   The prophets had warned God's people to seek the Lord and put aside their own thoughts and ideas.  We can close our doors through pride, disobedience, and ignorance.  May I allow God's word to form how  think, act, and speak....
      • How big a crown?  Check out Yvonne Huitron's guest post, where she recalls the City of Los Angeles, "El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles" ("the town of Our Lady Queen of the Angels"), wears Mary's crown.

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