Thursday, August 22, 2013

Gospel Reflection

August 22, 2013
Thursday – Year of Faith – Ordinary Time
Memorial of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary
by Rev. Fr. Ray Victor Pascual, LRMS (Spiritual and Apostolate Director, Lorenzo Mission Institute)
12:15PM Mass, Chapel of the Eucharistic Lord (Megamall Chapel)

Reading 1 Jgs 11:29-39a

The Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah. He passed through Gilead and Manasseh, and through Mizpah-Gilead as well, and from there he went on to the Ammonites. Jephthah made a vow to the LORD. “If you deliver the Ammonites into my power,” he said, “whoever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites shall belong to the LORD. I shall offer him up as a burnt offering.”

Jephthah then went on to the Ammonites to fight against them, and the LORD delivered them into his power, so that he inflicted a severe defeat on them, from Aroer to the approach of Minnith (twenty cities in all) and as far as Abel-keramim. Thus were the Ammonites brought into subjection by the children of Israel. When Jephthah returned to his house in Mizpah, it was his daughter who came forth, playing the tambourines and dancing. She was an only child: he had neither son nor daughter besides her. When he saw her, he rent his garments and said, “Alas, daughter, you have struck me down and brought calamity upon me. For I have made a vow to the LORD and I cannot retract.” She replied, “Father, you have made a vow to the LORD. Do with me as you have vowed, because the LORD has wrought vengeance for you on your enemies the Ammonites.” Then she said to her father, “Let me have this favor. Spare me for two months, that I may go off down the mountains to mourn my virginity with my companions.” “Go,” he replied, and sent her away for two months. So she departed with her companions and mourned her virginity on the mountains. At the end of the two months she returned to her father, who did to her as he had vowed.

Responsorial Psalm PS 40:5, 7-8a, 8b-9, 10

R. (8a and 9a) Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
Blessed the man who makes the LORD his trust;
who turns not to idolatry
or to those who stray after falsehood.
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
Sacrifice or oblation you wished not,
but ears open to obedience you gave me.
Burnt offerings or sin-offerings you sought not;
then said I, “Behold I come.”
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
“In the written scroll it is prescribed for me.
To do your will, O my God, is my delight,
and your law is within my heart!”
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
I announced your justice in the vast assembly;
I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know.
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.

Gospel Mt 22:1-14

Jesus again in reply spoke to the chief priests and the elders of the people in parables saying, “The Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast, but they refused to come. A second time he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those invited: “Behold, I have prepared my banquet, my calves and fattened cattle are killed, and everything is ready; come to the feast.”’ Some ignored the invitation and went away, one to his farm, another to his business. The rest laid hold of his servants, mistreated them, and killed them. The king was enraged and sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then the king said to his servants, ‘The feast is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy to come. Go out, therefore, into the main roads and invite to the feast whomever you find.’ The servants went out into the streets and gathered all they found, bad and good alike, and the hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to meet the guests he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment. He said to him, ‘My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?’ But he was reduced to silence. Then the king said to his attendants, ‘Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’ Many are invited, but few are chosen.”


Today is the Feast or the Memorial of Our Lady as Queen. Please bear with me because my reflection will be more on the Feast or Memorial today of Our Lady as Queen of Heaven and Earth - the fifth Glorious mystery.

Eight days ago, we also celebrated a Marian Feast - the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, when Our Lady was assumed, both body and soul, to heaven. Today, we have another Marian Feast, which is the Queenship of Mary. This feast was proclaimed by Pope Pious XII on October 11, 1954, through his encyclical letter 'Ad Coeli Reginam' or 'to the heavenly queen' or the 'Queen of Heaven'.

May I now ask you a question - how is one called a 'mother' or a 'father'? Normally, when one gets married and bears a son or daughter, one becomes a mother or a father. Because if one does not bear a child, one cannot be called a 'mother' or a 'father'. One is merely a wife or a husband. This is logically speaking. Of course, we are not talking here about spiritual motherhood or spiritual fatherhood, but the normal biological process. And the Feast that we celebrate today speaks to us about this wisdom - Mary as the Mother of Jesus. Now, putting this into the context of our celebration today, if Jesus is God, then Mary is the Mother of God. So if Jesus is King, then Mary is the Mother of a King. Therefore, she is a Queen Mother.

But all these titles of Mary are actually privileges given to her by God. All the privileges of Mary are given by God as a gift to her, because God has chosen her to become the Mother of the Messiah, the Savior of the World. It is a great honor, yet Mary always remained humble. Mary's Queenship is not about dictating and abusing authority, but like her Son, she, too, came, not to be served, but to serve.

It is unfortunate that some of the leaders in our country are here, not to serve, but to be served. Binago nila ang statement ni Jesus. Mary said, "I am the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to Your Word." The life of Mary is a life of saying 'yes' to the will of God. And all of us, as children of Mary, are also given this opportunity. For as long as we are breathing, as long as we are still alive, we are given a chance every day to renew our commitment to Jesus the King. The Queen Mother always leads people to her Son, and not to herself. That's why when priests draw people to themselves - when we draw you to ourselves - then we fail as shepherds of Jesus, because we do not bring you to Jesus and to the Kingdom of God.

All of us are given the opportunity to share like queens and kings also. Our rosaries, our Marian novenas and celebrations, are ways and means through which our Mama Mary leads us to her Son. May we become loyal subjects of the Kingdom of God - to our King, our Lord Jesus Christ.