So, just for a little intro into the homily, I would like you to just pull out your purse or if you have a wallet or any kind of purse bag, just get that in your lap for a second. I want you to take a look inside it. What’s in there? The Queen always carried her purse with her. You read that the Queen of England always carried her purse with her. There are a few things that are in her purse. That’s what I want to talk about. One of the things that she would do with the purse is she would use it for a signal. For example, if she was talking to somebody and felt like the conversation was going on too long, she would take her purse from her right hand and put it in her left hand. The guards would see that, and they would come and save her. If the conversation was especially unbearable, she would take her purse and put it on the ground. That meant getting me away from this person right now. Sometimes I wish I could do that. Finally, the third thing that she would do with the purse was when she was done with dinner; she would put the purse on the table. That meant that she had to be out of there in five minutes. So, that was her five-minute signal to everybody that she had to be out of there. So, if the homilies ever go too long with me, you can just take your purse or wallet and throw it there in the sanctuary, and that will be my cue to wrap it up.
But what did she carry in her purse on Sundays? She carries three things in her purse. The first one was lipstick and a mirror thing with it. She carried that with her every Sunday. Second, she carried tissues. She always had tissues in her purse. The third one was she had cash. She never carried cash except for Sundays. Do you know what she carried cash for? The church. She would come to church, and that would be her mass offering. Now I read that she only gave five pounds which in America is $8.00. That’s a little strange, coming from the Queen. But no judgment; whatever people want to give, feel free. So, she carries these three things in her purse, which I want to talk about: lipstick, tissues, and money. We hear the in the readings today this whole idea of praying for our king. The second reading from Saint Paul to Timothy says, “I ask that supplications, prayers, petitions, thanksgivings, be offered for everyone, for the king and for all in authority. I want to talk about why Paul is saying that, what that means for us today, and whether or not we should pray for Queen Elizabeth. Or whether or not we should pray for those in authority.
I want to talk about her first. Look, she is this classic queen. She’s been there for a long time. She was always known to be a person of elegance. She always carried her lipstick with her, and she would not hesitate to apply her lipstick whenever she needed to. The little things that we do in life are important. And we are all baptized as priests, prophets, and kings. So that means that you are, in all reality, a king. You are a queen. By that, I mean, if there is a dignity to me, there’s a dignity to you. I just want to use that as an image of coming to Sunday Mass. I’m not harping on people that don’t dress up for Sunday Mass. It doesn’t matter to me. It’s not a big deal. But there’s something good about dressing up. There’s something good about looking good. There’s something good about presenting ourselves to God in such a way that it shows our kingship, it shows your queenship. Just as the Queen always carried that mirror and that lipstick with her, it reminds us to always realize who we are. That we are kings and queens of God here on earth. That we’re called to rule in that way.
So, the little things that we do in life are important. We hear at the end of the gospel today that Jesus says that if you take care of the little things in your life, I will place you in charge of greater things. We are saying if you are a good king or queen in your dominion, your house, your room, whatever it may be, God will give you more and more responsibility. And help you build a Kingdom here on earth. Here are a few quotes from the catechism: “Christ, the high priest and unique mediator, has made the church a Kingdom of priests for his God and father. The faithful exercise their baptismal priesthood through participation, each according to his vocation.” So, you are a king and queen in whatever vocation God is calling you to in life. The catechism says it belongs to the laity to seek the Kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and directing them according to God’s will.
Sometimes I hear this notion of separation of church and state. I’m not talking about politics; I’m just talking about this dynamic. When we hear the separation of church and state, it has always been the separation of the state from impeding on the church. Not the other way around. The church is supposed to have a part in the life of our governance and our system. The church, you are called to be Kings and Queens, rulers here in our country and in our world. Finally, it says that “by uniting the forces that let the laity so remedy the institutions and conditions of the world when the latter inducement to sin that these may be conformed to the norms of justice. Favoring the practice of virtue and by doing so, the laity will impregnate the culture with works of moral virtue.” That means that even if we’re not living in a culture that is morally virtuous enough, we may not have a government; it is or isn’t morally virtuous, you being kings and queens are supposed to help with that moral virtue. So, wear your lipstick if you’re a woman, wear your lipstick.
The second thing is that tissue. The queen would carry tissues with her wherever she was. She went through a lot. She was born shortly after World War II. With the outbreak of the World War in 1939, the Queen, who was then Princess Elizabeth, was an early teen by then, and she wanted to contribute in some manner. She didn’t know what to do, but she wanted to contribute. She was a young girl and thought, “I want to do something just to encourage the children.” And so, she began this weekly radio station called the children’s hour. She would get on the radio just to talk to the children and to bring them comfort. She weathered the storms of what would be called her annus horribilis, which means her horrible year. Have you guys ever had a horrible year in your life? Yes? Maybe more? She lived through this horrible year and, throughout that time, demonstrated her graciousness. During that time of loving her family and being there for her country, leading them through this horrible year.
I feel like we’ve been through a couple of horrible years. But the tissues are important because we’re there to comfort one another. Maybe you’re not going through a horrible year right now. Maybe life is good for you. There are people probably in this church right now that are going through this horrible year. They are going through a terrible time in their life. It’s so important we bring our tissues, we comfort them. That we help them and support them. I know that when things are going badly, we come to God usually, right? The churches were packed after 911. Does anybody remember that? Coming to church and just the churches were packed. But I look out at you, who are so faithful. Coming every Sunday of your lives in good times and bad. You’re here to thank God for our goodness and pray together for our world. There’s something special about coming together. Sometimes people say I just talk to God; I don’t have to go to Mass. No, there’s something special about us coming together and praying together for God and interceding for our lives and for our world. That is so important. So, thank you for your witness of that.
The Psalm today says, “Who is like the Lord our God? Enthroned on high and looks on heaven and earth below. He raises the lowly from the dust. From the dunghill, he lifts the poor to seat with them with Princes. And the Princes of his people.” I think tissues could be symbolic of that, too, of wiping off the sin of our brothers and sisters. Of helping them realize their dignity, that they belong here, that they are kings and queens, sons and daughters of our almighty God. So, carry tissues with you and, symbolically, comfort one another. Comfort our brothers and sisters. Heal them and bring them back to the faith.
And finally, the last thing that she carried was money. The only time she carried money was when she came to mass. And she would give her offering. And that’s where I want to talk about the end of the second reading. “First of all, I ask you for supplication, prayers, petitions, thanksgivings, be offered to everyone, kings and queens and all in authority. Did you know that in our petitions, every Sunday, there’s an order to the petitions? Every Sunday, the 2nd petition is praying for those in authority. Every Sunday, we come together as the body of Christ and pray for those in authority. Then it says, why do we pray for those in authority? St Paul says, “that we may lead quiet and tranquil lives of all devotions and of all dignity.” So primarily, you pray for authority, that they may allow us to live peaceful and good lives. He wrote this when the church was being persecuted. He was praying for those in authority, pagans, and those in authority who were killing all of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Paul specifically says that prayers have to be said for kings and all who are in high positions because they are responsible for assuring and ensuring what civil law is in line with, which is our natural law. And when its citizens can practice religious and civil virtues, rulers have a responsibility and therefore deserve to be prayed for regularly.
So, I think it’s important in this time of division, too that we pray for all of our leaders. Whether or not we agree with them or disagree with them. But we pray for them again that they may allow the freedom of religion in our world. So that we may lead lives of quietness, free from public turmoil. That we may lead tranquil and quiet lives. Wouldn’t that be nice to live a tranquil and quiet life? And that’s what we pray for.
And so, for all of these things, we come together today. We gather at mass on Sunday. We come as the body of Christ, adorned like Kings and Queens, remembering our true dignity. We come here with our tissues, with our sadnesses, with our years of horror or terribleness. We come here also to give. We give God, just like the Queen, our gifts of tithing and of money, but we also give our prayers. We offer God our lives and our prayers for those of the entire world. As we enter the mass this Sunday, we pray in a special way for our world and for all of those in offices of power. We pray that they may also have grace and be graceful like the Queen. And we pray in a special way that we ourselves may realize that we are Kings and Queens of God. So, carry your lipstick, look good, and remember who you are. Carry your tissues to comfort those in need, and finally, bring your offerings to God as we celebrate these sacred mysteries.