20th Wednesday in Ordinary Time
Memorial of Queenship of Mary
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. All of creation is just this – heaven and earth. No heaven and earth and underworld. No three tiered world. Just the heavens and the earth. The Bible sets up the stage for the great drama between God and man. It is a two tier stage – heaven above and the earth below. God is above the heavens but one thing is made clear – man is of the earth. God formed man from the dust of the earth. This above and below is symbol of a relationship. An important relationship we ignore at our great peril.
Earth is always dependent on heaven. The rain comes down from heaven. Blessings come down from heaven. God gives and man, dependent always, receives. Unfortunately man has tried to subvert this relationship by trying to control the heavens. He begins very early – eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The tree on earth that heaven forbade him to eat from. He tries to build a tower that reaches to the heavens. He wants to control the heavens. He does not want to be dependent.
In paganism he tries to control the heavens by divinizing the heavenly bodies. The sun, the moon, the stars. Canaanite religion was replete with this. So the Lord has to warn Israel not to worship the queen of heaven. In our time, we control the heavens by horizontalizing them. There is only one heaven for us, the earth. Nothing else. There are no two tiers anymore. No sense of dependence. No God only man the master of his own fate. We understand and control how the heavens work. We pride ourselves on not swallowing an outdated mythology.
All these attempts are abortive marriages of heaven and earth because they arise from the wrong end – earth trying to marry the heavens. But pride repels God.
Only heaven can take the initiative. God so loved that world that He gave us His only Son. This is the true marriage of heaven and earth. When heavens come down as dew upon the fleece. Earth in its emptiness and utter dependence can only surrender and accept.
This marriage of heaven and earth can only take place because the earth puts no obstacles in the path of heaven. Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord, may it be done to me according to your word. The marriage can only take place because Mary is totally open. Her humility is the key to the marriage of heaven and earth. She overturns in her humility the pride of Eve. Eve snatches at heaven. Mary surrenders and accepts heaven with no strings attaches even if the sacred history of heaven and earth progresses inexorably to the Cross.
She is Queen of heaven and earth because she has opened herself totally to Her Son’s great work of redemption. Heaven can finally truly marry the earth in the humble heart of Mary.
We celebrate today Her Queenship but let us remember what lies at the base of Mary’s privilege. She is privileged because her utter humility draws heaven down to earth. She is the earth that the Lord God was preparing for and patiently waiting for from the beginning of the world – when God first created the heavens and earth.