Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

Ave Maria!
Pentecost—31 May AD 2009
Queenship of Mary—Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces

[Ordinary of the Mass]
[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.[2]  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 Pharisees.”[3]  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 once again.

    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....”[4]

    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.”[5]  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.”[6]

    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 thy word.”


[2]   John xxi.

[3]   John xviii

[4]   Acts i: 14.

[5]   Epistle Acts ii: 1-11

[6]   Cf. Luke i: 26-38.


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