Our Lady, Queen of Apostles—IHM Convent homily

Our Lady, Queen of Apostles
May 27, 2017

Regardless of whether one’s diocese transfers the Ascension from the fortieth to the forty-third day after Easter Sunday, today—that is, the Saturday following the fortieth day of Easter—is the feast of Our Lady, Queen of Apostles.  Today’s feast helps us during these days of preparation for Pentecost, by reflecting on Mary as she prayed in the midst of the apostles in the Upper Room.

Think of those two great events that took place in this Upper Room, also called the Cenacle.  Those two great events of our Christian Faith are the Institution of the Sacrifice of the Mass at the Last Supper, and the Descent of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost.  As we ponder the many connections and contrasts between these two events, one contrast in particular stands out.

At the Institution of the Sacrifice of Holy Mass, the apostles were gathered with Our Lord Jesus Christ.  At the Descent of the Holy Spirit, the apostles were gathered with whom?  The apostles were gathered with Our Lady, Queen of Apostles.  We would not say, of course, that Our Blessed Mother takes the place of Our Lord Jesus.  Instead, she is with the Apostles to help in the begetting of the Mystical Body of Christ:  that is, as the Mother of the Church.

Pope Leo XIII in his encyclical Adiutricem Populi wrote of Mary in the Cenacle:  “With wonderful care she nurtured the first Christians by her holy example, her authoritative counsel, her sweet consolation, her fruitful prayers. She was in very truth, the Mother of the Church, the Teacher and Queen of the Apostles, to whom, besides, she confided no small part of the divine mysteries which she kept in her heart.”[1]

Pope Leo’s beloved successor, St. John Paul II, teaches us:  “The Marian dimension of the Church is antecedent to that of the Petrine, without being in any way divided from it or being less complementary.  Mary Immaculate precedes all others, including obviously Peter himself and the Apostles.  This is so, not only because Peter and the Apostles, being born of the human race under the burden of sin, form part of the Church which is ‘holy from out of sinners,’ but also because their triple function[—priests, prophets, and kings—]has no other purpose except to form the Church in line with the ideal of sanctity already [designed] and prefigured in Mary.”[2]

[1] Pope Leo XIII, Adiutricem Populi (September 5, 1895), 6.

[2] Address to the Cardinal and Prelates of the Roman Curia (December 22, 1987); “L’Osservatore Romano,” Dec. 23, 1987.