August 22, 2020 (Saturday of Week 20, Year II: Queenship of the BVM)
Dear friends in Christ, today we celebrate the memorial of Mary as Queen. We combine this with her Motherhood. This celebration which comes as the octave of the Assumption has its roots in the scriptures as the angel that brought the news to Mary announced that the child she will conceive will receive the throne of David and rule forever. Elizabeth also addressed her as the Mother of My Lord. If her son reigns as King, it follows that she is Queen. Her queenship is therefore a direct share in the Kingship of her Son. We pray for her maternal intercession as we continue to honour her.
In our first reading today (Ezekiel 43:1-7) we come to the climax of the visions of Ezekiel. Nothing can surpass the joy of the return of the exiles to their homeland, particularly with the glory of the temple restored. The temple is the assurance of the relationship between God and his people, the sign that He has forgiven their sins, for the profanation of the holy place. In chapter 1, Ezekiel saw the ‘Vision of the Chariot’ while with the exiles by the river Chebar; in chapter 8-11 he was mystically transported to the temple in Jerusalem where he witnessed the departure of the glory of God from the temple. In today’s passage, Ezekiel experiences the hope of the people, he says, “And the vision I saw was like the vision I had seen when he came to destroy the city, and the vision which I had seen by the river Chebar; and I fell upon my face. As the glory of the Lord entered the temple by the gate facing east…the glory of the Lord filled the temple.” What an incredible news for the people? God said to him, “Son of man, this is the place of my throne…where I will dwell in the midst of the sons of Israel forever.” The temple here is the throne of God, from where he will rule over his people.
In the gospel (Matthew 23:1-12) Jesus tells the crowds and his disciples to go beyond what the Pharisees were doing. He accused the Pharisees and the scribes that, they occupy the chair of Moses, who is known to be the Law-giver, the teacher and great leader of the people. They occupy the chair of the Law but do not live out the laws themselves. Jesus then instructed the people, “Practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they teach but do not practice…They do all their deeds to be seen by men…” The Pharisees and the scribes contradicted by their lives, what they teach the people. It is not enough for us to blame them, but also to look at ourselves. How many of us teach our children not to lie, but lie even before them? How many teach their children not to steal but defraud the establishments where they work? How many of us enforce the discipline we do not care to live in our lives? For as long as we preach and teach but do not live by those standards we teach, we are not different from the scribes and Pharisees of this passage.
Let us pray: O God, teach us your ways and guide our footsteps in your paths. Amen. May the Almighty God bless you, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.