Homily for Thursday of the 20th Week in Ordinary Time Year A (2)

Homily for Thursday of the 20th Week in Ordinary Time Year A

Theme: Make vows to the Lord and fulfil it as the Virgin Queen Mother of God.

By: Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf


Homily for Thursday August 22 2019

READINGS: Judges 11: 29-39, Ps. 40, Matthew 22: 1-14
Today the Church celebrates the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Humanly, such a poor insignificant Mary cannot be a Queen. A queen is the daughter of the king and a member of the kingdom. A lady coming from a kingly family is a royal. In the case of the Blessed Virgin Mary she did not come from a human royal family and ordinarily and normally she cannot be called a Queen. But by the special grace and privilege of her mission to be the Mother of the Saviour every other Divine elevation and privileges became possible. By the virtue of her fiat and choice by God, Mary became a royal of the Highest Order. God is her Father who is the King per excellence (King of kings). By giving birth to Jesus who is the king of the universe and Lord of lords, Mary became mysteriously the daughter of the Son who is God the greatest King and the Mother of the Prince of heaven and earth. By her cooperation with God she is the Queen with maiden companions and the virgin daughter of Zion the great king. She is that woman escorted amidst gladness and joy in the palace of the King. The book of Revelation reveals and presents her as the Queen clothed with the sun and moon and the stars. The old ejaculatory prayer of the Legio Mariae- the Catena says: Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising; fair as the moon and bright as the Star and terrible as an army set in battle array? This is referring to the Blessed Virgin Mary. She is the chosen Queen of God in the house of God belonging as a royal in his kingdom.

Beloved, in the celebration of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Church extends the celebration of the solemnity of Assumption exactly a week ago. Because of the Assumption we contemplated the woman seated beside the King of ages who shines forth as Queen and intercedes as a mother. This is the remark of Pope Paul VI in his exhortation- Marialis Cultus. From the testimony of the fathers of the Church, theologians drew inference from it and called Mary the Queen of all creation and Sovereign Mistress of all men while ecclesiastical writers called her Mother of the King. St Alphonsus De Liguori summed it up saying: Since the Virgin Mary was raised to the dignity of Mother of the King of kings; the Church justly honours her and wishes that she be honoured with the glorious title of Queen. Pope Pius XI maintains that Mary by sitting at the right hand of the Son after Assumption petitions to God and to the Son most powerfully with her maternal prayers and she obtains whatever she seeks. In commending the Queenship of Mary Pope Pius XII in his encyclical Ad Coeli Reginam proposed that: We commend that on the festival (this celebration) there be renewed the consecration of the human race to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We are admonished to fly to the patronage of the Queen Mother to beg her help in difficulty, light in darkness, and solace in trouble and sorrow; and let us strive to free ourselves the servitude of sin. No one should think himself exempt of this payment of that tribute of a grateful and loving soul. She brings the blessing of peace so that she may show all of us after this exile, Jesus who will be our enduring peace and joy.

Beloved, the first reading today coming from today’s ferial presents us one of the scriptural fathers of faith in the Old Testament- Jephthah who like the Blessed Virgin Mary made strong vow and fulfilled it. He fulfilled a pronounced vow with his only child and only daughter who was a virgin. The daughter faithful as the father accepted to be offered for a burnt offering in thanksgiving to God for victory over the Ammonites. Here we see a man who followed the instruction of the Psalm: Make vows to the Lord and fulfil it. He teaches us a strong lesson that there is power in spoken words made in faith desperately to God. He made this request prior going for the war. He teaches us that faith makes our prayer answered before God. He also teaches us that when we are in need of God’s help and make a vow to get our heart’s desire done, we must fulfil it when God fulfils his own part. Many times we make promises, vows and oaths to God should he do one thing or the other and when we receive it, we become reluctant in fulfilling ours or we completely refuse to do it. Jephthah has taught us many lessons to follow. If in any way we have not fulfilled any vow made to God, let us quickly do so and if we know we cannot fulfil any vow it is better not made and let us allow God to offer us whatever he wills. Even though it is not our vows that prompt God to offer us what he never intended to.

Beloved, God gives us divine invitation to the banquet of the kingdom of God. He has taken it upon himself to prepare everything by himself gratuitously and we are supposed to receive it freely with thanksgiving and free heart. If we allow human minds and desire to make us offer empty excuses we shall be the ones to lose at last. We shall be surprised that those who we think that are unqualified may inherit that kingdom prepared for us. Even as God makes us the unqualified to be qualified for the sacred banquet, we must not enter it with inappropriate apparel. The garment of faith and righteousness must be found on us to make us worthy to be retained in this heavenly banquet if not we shall be fished out and disgrace out on the last day. The mercy and charity of God must not be compromised or taken for granted.

We pray that just as Mary we may accept the divine invitation to dine with God and strive to fulfil the vows we have made. May our song and conviction be: See, I have come Lord, to do your will; and may nothing prevent us from claiming what has been prepared for us, Amen.

Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf

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