Pentecost—31 May AD 2009
Queenship of Mary—Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces
[English Mass Text]
[Latin Mass Text]
Today we celebrate the feast of
Pentecost, the descent of the Holy Ghost on the Apostles and the Mother of God.
It is what they call a “triple header” for our Lady, for May 31st is
also the feast of her Queenship, and in some places a celebration of Mary as
Mediatrix of all Graces. It might be profitable to view the events of
Pentecost, and the events leading up to it through the eyes of Mary.
We know, first of all, that Mary had
been in Jerusalem at least since the previous Thursday. The Scriptures are
silent on the matter, but it is reasonable to assume that she had been with her
divine Son since His Resurrection from the dead on Easter. We know from
Saint John’s Gospel that Jesus and the Apostles spent some time on the Sea of
Tiberias or Galilee.
Perhaps they visited their home in Nazareth for the last time before Mary went
with Saint John to Ephesus. But, at least by Ascension Thursday, Mary and
the Apostles were back in Jerusalem, gathering together in the Upper Room, the
place of the Last Supper.
The Acts of the Apostles tells us that
on that Thursday they all accompanied our Lord to the Mount of Olives, just a
short distance to the east of Jerusalem. They may have passed through the
Garden of Gethsemene, where Mary knew her Son had endured His agony before being
captured by the “cohort and the attendants of the chief priests and
The climb to the summit of Mount Olivet was exhilarating, for the summit is
about seven or eight hundred feet above the Garden.
The Ascension had to be disconcerting
for the Apostles who had been dependent on Jesus to guide them for the past
three years or so. But imagine how difficult it had to have been for Mary
to lose her only Son again. She had to recall the first time, when they
could not find Him in Jerusalem until they went to the Temple. She had to
recall what it was like when they took His lifeless body down from the Cross.
His Ascension into heaven was a more glorious affair, but still, He was gone
The Acts of the Apostles do suggest that
in spite of her loss Mary was a mainstay of the group that returned to take
refuge in the Upper Room that night. “All these were persevering with
one mind in prayer with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus....”
Mary was there in the Upper Room for
another important event that often gets glossed over. There was a
gathering of about 120 people during which Saint Peter, our Lord’s Vicar,
announced that a replacement for Judas would be appointed. Our first Pope
and the Apostles would consecrate the first new bishop in the long line of the
apostolic succession—Holy Orders—and they would do so in the presence of the
Blessed Virgin Mary! They had two men to choose from—two that had been
disciples since the beginning—Barsabbas and Matthias. The chose Matthias
“by lot”—essentially they drew straws to see who would be consecrated
bishop! Perhaps the Church today might do well to do the same!
Then Mary was with them on Pentecost
when “suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a mighty wind coming, ...
And there appeared to them parted tongues as it were of fire ... And they were
all filled with the Holy Ghost.”
And once again, Mary had a unique perspective on this. This was not the
first time the Holy Ghost came to her. Her memory had to leap back some
thirty-four years—to when a young virgin gave her consent to the Angel, and
“the Holy Ghost overshadowed her, and she became the mother of the holy one
that would be called the Son of God.”
Finally, I think we can presume that
Mary felt great joy when Peter went out to the crowd and preached about her Son.
That crowd had demanded the death of Jesus just fifty-odd days before, and they
turned Him over to the Romans to be crucified. But now, with the courage
given the Apostles by the Holy Ghost, many of them repented, and on this first
day of the Church’s public ministry some 3,000 souls were converted and
received the waters of Baptism.
Mary’s life had been a difficult one,
but it was a life of unquestioning cooperation with the will of God. Her
words to the Angel were “Be it done to me according to thy word.” And
it was done, and now, thirty‑four years later, the plan which God
formulated in the Garden of Eden had come to fruition with Mary’s help.
Through Mary, God sent their Son into the world. Their Son revealed God to
His people in the fullness of revelation. Their Son offered the perfect
Sacrifice of the Cross to atone for the fall of mankind. Their Son had
ascended into heaven, but on this day it became clear that His work would
continue until the end of time. A day or two before, the sacrificial
priesthood of their Son began to be extended in the person of Matthias—an
extension along a line of Holy Orders that would last forever. And on this
first Pentecost it became clear that the multitudes would find salvation through
the Church that their Son had founded.
My exhortation for you this morning is
to model your lives around Mary whose Queenship we celebrate today. As
Mediatrix of All Graces she will ask God for whatever is lacking in us. We
have received Baptism, and many of us have received the Holy Ghost in
Confirmation. We are prepared to follow her example of cooperation with
the will of God and collaboration in the work of her son. It only remains
for us to echo her words to the angel: “Be it done to me according to