Thursday, November 20, 2014

"He will sit upon his glorious throne"

This Sunday, November 23, 2014 we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King. This is the Last Sunday of the Church Year. Through this feast the church is saying that all of our celebrations can be summed up in one statement: Jesus is our King, we serve him. Our Discussion Questions will guide your Sunday Bible Study with family, friends and church groups.
Universal King

But who is this Person we salute on the feast of Christ the King? Fr. James Gilhooley  says call Him anything you want - Christ the Sultan, Christ the President, Christ the Pharaoh. It is immaterial to Him. He remains the Son of God. The Acts of the Apostles tell us He turned history upside down by His resurrection. And this, Fr. Alex McAllister, SDS explains, is the Gospel paradox – that the High King of Heaven becomes lowly for our sake. That He who is to be worshiped by everything that lives and breathes becomes the one most despised of all, and dies in disgrace on the cross of Calvary.

Lord and Just Judge

Sunday's selection from the gospel of Matthew is very appropriate for the feast of Christ the King. It portrays Christ as a king who presides over the scene of the final judgment. Fr. Orlando Sapuay, M.S. says it also brings forth three Gospel truths that act as a filter with which to view the entire bible: Jesus is returning in glory; He will judge all nations; Calling Jesus “Lord” is not enough.

This kingdom of Christ, a reign of charity and peace, is for all. We the baptized are the agents through whom the social kingship of Christ will be realized. Father Cusick says the Lord sends us out as His disciples so that all mankind may be brought under His reign in the world. We are asked to do His work. But He respects and honors His subjects’ needs and desires - their free will. And that, explains Fr. John Foley, S. J., is exactly how a real King acts.

But what will the Last Judgment be like? Many will come before Him, not having commmitted offenses or infractions of the law. Thay might not have done anything positively destructive. But in the presence of suffering, they also heartlessly did absolutely nothing. Marcellino D’Ambrosio, Ph.D. notes that these sins of omission ultimately seal the fate of the damned. Fr. Demetrius R. Dumm, O.S.B. warns us that many on that last day will hear Him say, "You have chosen to live without me, your God, and I will respect your choice.”

"Lord when did we see you?"

As disciples of Jesus, we are called to make the kingdom of God a reality in whatever place we are, in whatever time we live. Jesus’ command to practice the corporal works of mercy is direct, uncompromising, and everywhere present in the entire New Testament. Fr. Ron Rolheiser points out that taken as whole, every tenth line in the New Testament is a direct challenge to the Christian to reach out to the physically poor.

Christ is present in those people we meet who are prayerful, spiritual, and charismatic. But, Fr. Joseph Pellegrino reminds us, the Lord is also present in those who may not even recognize His presence in their lives. He is present in those mocked by our society, the poor, the eccentric, the oppressed, the unborn. When we give help to a family struggling to make ends meet, we are helping Christ.

Thus the most plaintive line in our gospel story, Fr. John J. Ludvik explains, is the one that echoes twice from the dumbstruck crowd: "Lord when did we see you?" And, Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB adds, the most stirring refrain of Sunday's Gospel is found precisely in these words: "You did it to me."

And so as we conclude the Church year, we ask the Lord to help us serve the Kings of Kings as He presents Himself in those reaching out to us.

Prayer, Communion & Pornography

"What the Catholic Church in the United States really needs to stiffen its backbone is a good persecution." How often have we heard somebody say something like that? How often have we said something like it ourselves? Be careful what you ask for—you just might may get it. The persecution of religion in America has begun. And Russel Shaw says the Catholic Church is its prime target.

Three years ago from the Vatican Pope Benedict made this call for daily prayers, "I would like to renew my call to everyone to pray the Psalms, to become accustomed to using the Liturgy of the Hours, Lauds, Vespers, and Compline. Our relationship with God can only be enriched by our journeying towards Him day after day.”

While back in the US, Taylor Marshall reflected on the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas and the Council of Trent as he discusses "The Difference between Spirtual and Sacramental Communion." And Patrick A. Trueman tackles a scourge that is affecting so many Catholic men - Pornography. It has become America’s pastime, and we are awash in it.

A Catholic Thanksgiving

A curious question: Is “Thanksgiving” Catholic? The history books will tell you that the first Thanksgiving was celebrated by the pilgrims in 1621. Not true, explains Taylor Marshall. An interesting bit of trivia is that the first American Thanksgiving was actually celebrated on September 8, 1565 in St. Augustine, Florida. The Native Americans and Spanish settlers held a feast and the Holy Mass was offered.And did you know that it was President Abraham Lincoln who officially proclaimed it a holiday in 1863? His intent was crystal clear - as this reprint of his official proclamation will show - and it's as valid today as it was in 1863.

So how do you evangelize your family this Thanksgiving? Start with celebrating the day with Holy Mass. We are bound, if we are able, to observe the third commandment and keep the Lord’s Day holy by gathering together to give thanks. Eucharist after all means thanksgiving. But thanksgiving can’t be limited to Sunday Eucharist. Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio reminds us that we are called to develop a lifestyle of thanksgiving. We’re called to become a Eucharistic people.

What Are You Thankful For?

Anthony Duk shares a moving Thanksgiving story with a twist. It's the story of painful Thanksgivings and how a gift bouquet of thorns was able to offer a meditative respite for the holiday. And then Chris Mueller shares one of his favorite thanksgiving stories that takes place long before the pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock. In fact this one goes back to a little town in Italy known as Assisi. And it's a story most famous for two of its most remarkable citizens - St. Francis and St. Clare.

As has been our Thanksgiving tradition, we bring you back our Thanksgiving Prayer Book. We reflect on how imperfect our lives always will be. How good things will always co-exist with the unfortunate ones. But despite this, there are many things God has blessed us with that we can be truly thankful for. Share your blessings with us.

Celebrating Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day of the year. Shuffling through airport security in your socks or sitting in traffic may seem like a breeze compared with the stresses of settling in under the same roof with family. Tensions often run high during the holidays, but there are polite and effective ways to manage those tricky interactions. Here's how to be a heavenly houseguest -- and keep your sanity.

Ours is a country where supersizing and soaring obesity rates have become the norm. So what is the best way to deal with our annual feast day? Streamlining. The key to a healthy holiday meal, we've discovered, is that less can be more. This Thanksgiving, celebrate without supersizing. Here are tips and recipes for a hearty, healthy Thanksgiving meal. And sure, we all know the holiday leaves us stuffed. But it's not just the extra calories that make us groggy. Here's the "Four Reasons Thanksgiving Makes Us Sleepy."

And so we gather at the Thanksgiving dinner table with big appetites and grateful hearts. But before anyone digs in, someone most likely will offer the customary blessing or prayer. When you sit down with family and friends and bow your heads to pray, what should you say? Here's a wonderful Thaksgiving dinner prayer suggestion from Deacon Greg Kandra.

We Need Your Help - An Update

We thank those of you who contributed to our Stewardship Drive. Our Gospel Matthew 25: 37-40 for this Sunday tells us:

"Then the righteous will answer him and say,
'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you,
or thirsty and give you drink?
When did we see you a stranger and welcome you,
or naked and clothe you?
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?'
And the king will say to them in reply,
'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did
for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.'

Many needy parishes continue to wait for our help. And we ask you to help us help them. Our goal is to gift 10 needy parishes with their own parish evangelization websites. Your assistance will allow us to make a real difference in the Catechetical and spiritual lives of these parish communities.

The following characterize why our mission is so important:
First  - 95% of our Catholics in the pews are under-Catechized.
Second  - Over a million articles of evangelization are viewed each month in ParishWorld!

Everyday, we continue to make a difference in the spiritual lives of countless Catholics like yourself. If you haven't helped with our campaign, we plead with you, please consider a financial gift today. And 100% of your gifts - every single dollar - will go to setting up these gift parish websites.

We pray the Holy Spirit be your guide as you prayerfully consider a financial gift to support our mission. We have a long way to go to meet our Stewardship goal. Your small gift can and will add up to a wonderful and much anticipated holiday gift for the many parish faith communities in our waiting list.

Click here to donate today.

Another eventful week in our Catholic World. A most happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

BURNING QUESTION: What are yout thankful for?
FEATURED BLOG: 'And with your spirit,' once again
PASTORAL HISPANA: Solemnidad del Nuestro Senor Jesucristo

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