A Tale Signifying Love
Homily for the Memorial of St. Margaret of Scotland
Preached on November 16, 2011 at St. Andrew Catholic Church, Harrodsburg KY
Readings: 2 Maccabees 7:1, 20-31; Psalm 17:1bcd, 5-6, 8b, 15; Luke 19:11-28
It was Macbeth who murdered Duncan, but it was his lady who goaded him to grab the chance that would crown him king. Shakespeare though warns us that grim is the end for those who, like this pair, were consumed by greed and ambition: Macbeth eventually dies at the hand of a man not of woman born; his lady takes her own life. In his despair, the usurper dismisses life as but “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing” (Macbeth, act 5, scene 5, 26-28).
It was Macbeth who murdered Duncan, the father-in-law of Margaret of Scotland. But unlike that murderer’s lady, this sainted queen urged her husband Malcolm to pray to Christ who had made him king. It was not greed that consumed her but charity. Every day, she would serve the orphans and the poor before she ever sat to eat at her table. Like the martyred mother of seven in the Book of Maccabees (cf. 2 Mc. 7:20-29), Margaret taught her children not to be held captive by the world or by whatever it offers. She nursed them with the milk of human kindness and fed them with the truths of divine faith. Three of her sons became kings of Scotland and in history are noted for their piety and justice. David, the youngest son, was so known for his holiness that we remember him less as a sovereign and more as a saint. The Divine Master had given Margaret her share of gold and instead of wasting her gift she used everything she had to build up the kingdom of God on Scottish soil.
The Lord had said, “To everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away” (Lk. 19:26). Macbeth, who had no love for God or neighbor, wasted his life on things that do not last. It is no wonder then that he thought life to be meaningless, to be a tale signifying nothing. But, St. Margaret proved that life can be something more, that life can be a tale told by a saint, full of the power and the glory from above, signifying love for God and neighbor.