Thursday, November 21, 2013

"This is the King of the Jews"

Sunday's solemn feast of Christ the King, the grand finale to Liturgical Year C, gives us an opportunity to lay aside a lot of cultural baggage about kings and kingdoms, and discover how Jesus Christ can be a true king, unlike earthly rulers. Our Discussion Questions will guide your Online Sunday Bible Study sessions with your family, friends and church groups.

The feast of Jesus Christ the Universal King was insituted by Pope Pius XI in 1925 and is observed on the last Sunday of the Roman Catholic Liturgical Year. It causes us to meditate on the Second and Final Coming of Christ, the last Judgment, and the end of the world.

Christ our Lord

Christ is our King; he is king of our lives, king of our destinies, king of all of creation. He is the ruler; we are the ruled. He is the healer; we are the patient. He is the saviour; we are the saved.

This Sunday’s Mass challenges us with the question: “Who or what exercises power over our lives?” Fr. Charles Irvin says we all know, don’t we, that it should be Christ our Lord -- He should be the One in whose dominion we should live.

Christ is the anointed one. Father Cusick reminds us that Jesus was anointed by God the Father to be the Messiah, and therefore King. By reason of his godhead, Jesus the Son shares in the dominion of the Father and the Holy Spirit over all creation. He is no local warlord, no regional ruler, adds Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Ph.D. Jesus is the universal King and no one is outside His dominion. His kingdom is not of this world, and so his kingship is not like that of earthly kings.

Conversion into His Kingship

Christian life is a life lived in acknowledgement of our utter dependence on God. This means that conversion is at its very heart. But, Fr. Alex McAllister points out, conversion is not a one-off thing. It is a constant process. We have to continually remind ourselves that without God we are nothing and that we should therefore give him first priority in everything that we say or do. We desire to be good citizens, but ultimately we do not belong to the government. Fr. Phil Bloom says we belong to Jesus - the King over all kings.

College student Anusia Dickow can't help but feel unworthy of such a great king.She looks at the description of our King in the second reading and how powerful He is. But then she reads the Gospel and sees how our King gave up everything, His dignity, His life, on the cross. And so Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB makes it clear that very few can measure up to Christ's kingly stature, remaining powerless in the face of the powerful. Many of us resist with power, even though we resort to very refined forms of pressure and manipulation. Kingship, when God is involved, does not ask people to ignore the failures, but embraces those experiences and redeems them.

The only goal that matters, the only dream that matters is the dream of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ and our participation in this Kingdom. Fr. Joseph Pellegtino tells us that this dream includes the purpose for our lives, the formation of a community of God’s love that makes life meaningful. And this Sunday, the scriptures present us with the choice between two kingdoms -- the kingdom of light or the kingdom of darkness. The choice is ours, Fr. Orlando Sapuay, M.S. challenges us. Which kingdom do you serve?

The King as The Suffering Servant

Over the past year, we have seen the important Lukan theme of the imitation of Jesus, especially in his ministry of forgiveness and reconciliation. In Luke's moving Gospel story of the crucifixion, this theme reaches its apex. The teaching in the Gospels is absolutely clear. If you want to be first, then be the last.

If you want to have power, then become the servant of all others. Paul Dion, STL illustrates that this was precisely how Jesus conquered Peter. When the King washed the servant's feet during the Last Supper, Jesus showed that the source of kingly power is service to the Word of God.

Indeed, as Jesus walked this earth, the Kingdom of God was His. He sorrowed, He was lowly, He hungered and thirsted for justice. His heart burst with compassion, He was singlehearted, He brought peace and was persecuted for holiness' sake. He was insulted and persecuted because of who He was. Fr. James Gilhooley explains that this Saviour clearly is no royal person. Rather, in the jargon of college students, He is clearly a Man who walks the talk.

The Solemnity of Christ the King is not about power or about being first. It is instead about doing the will of the Father. Abbot Philip Lawrence, OSB says today's challenge is about Christians believing and being will to suffer for their beliefs. But why do we have to suffer? Fr. John Foley, S. J. says it's because that is the way of the world. Why didn’t Christ the King change the world and make things perfect? He did, but not in the way we had expected. He did it as Christ the Kind.

Death, Judgement, Heaven and Hell

During the whole month of November we meditate on the four Last things: death, judgement, heaven and hell. In the modern age we think little of such things. Msgr. Charles Pope warns us - that death will come is certain. It may come in an instant. Tomorrow is not promised. I can’t even promise you that you will make through alive, reading this post. But not only do modern people think little of death, but even less do we think of the judgment to follow.

Are you prepared to die? Fr. Ron Rolheiser continues the discourse. He tells us that inside the communion of saints, after death, our communication is privileged. Death washes clean. It clarifies perspective and takes away a lot of relational tensions. Why does he say this? Because, he says, our faith and our experience teach us this.

Confessions of a Protestant Missionary to Guatemala

Theirs is a story that captured my attention. Set aside some time and leisurely read their testimony. And I assure you there is much you will learn about our Catholic Church vis-a-vis the different Protestant denominations. Kristine L. Franklin and her husband were Evangelical Protestants who had spent eight years of preparation in the US to be missionaries in Guatemala. After two years of toiling for Christ in that country, their Protestant Christian paradigm began shifting. Disillusioned, they resigned form their mission and moved back to the US. And just over a year after that they embraced the Catholic Church as the one true faith. This is a must-read. Share it with your Protestant friends.

Catholicizing Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Day means lots of things to Americans: overeating a big turkey dinner, watching football, getting ready to scoop up the local mall’s 6 a.m. special sales the next morning. More than any other national holiday Thanksgiving is family-centered. Bishop Kevin Farrell reminds us that although many of us are scattered and apart from our loved ones, we return in spirit, if not in person for Thanksgiving. It is a time when we are reminded that people are more important than things.

Joseph Precchen tells us how we can Catholicize Thanksgiving Day. And it should start with a Talking turkey aside, celebration of the Eucharist. And why must we discharge this obligation at Mass rather than in the comfort of our own homes? Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio says it's because our sacrifice of thanksgiving is weak and insufficient on its own. There was only One who has ever offered perfect worship to the Father, and His sacrifice is made present again at every Eucharist.

So let's not forget what this special day is all about. Worship of God first and foremost is a strict obligation of justice. We were created out of nothing, through no effort of our own. We were saved by grace; it was not our own doing (Ephesians 2:4). On both counts, we owe God everything. We can never adequately repay him, and so owe him a lifetime of gratitude.

So, are you thankful? What are you thankful for? We bring back an annual ParishWorld Thansgiving tradition. Share your thoughts and prayers of gratitude with us. Click here and complete this statement: This Thanksgiving Day, I am most thankful to God for the gift of ...

Tips for a Hearty & Healthy Thanksgiving

In a country where supersizing and soaring obesity rates have become the norm, what is the best way to deal with our annual feast day? Streamlining. The key to a healthy holiday meal is that less can be more. Less fat. Less sugar. Less salt. And less on the plate. But not less flavor. Check this out: Tips, recipes for a hearty, healthy Thanksgiving meal

Sure, we know the holiday leaves us stuffed. That heavy meal will likely push you to the closest couch for a quick nap. But it's not just the extra calories that make us groggy. Here are the four reasons Thanksgiving makes us sleepy.

Another eventful week in our Catholic world. Have a great and bleesed new week. And Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

BURNING QUESTION: Why a "crucifix" for Catholics and a plain cross for Protestants?
FEATURED BLOG: Confessions of a Protestant missionary to Guatemala
PASTORAL HISPANA: Jesucristo es nuestro Rey

Post a comment below.
Follow us on Twitter
Click Here to receive a FREE SUBSCRIPTION to this weekly email

No comments:

Post a Comment