Readings & Reflections with Cardinal Tagle’s video: The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King, November 23,2014
Today is the solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King. He was crucified for his claim to the Messianic King who would rule not only over his people Israel but ultimately over all the nations as well. Jesus death was a triumph over our twin enemies – sin and death. Above his head on the cross: “JNRJ or Jesus Nazarene King of the Jews”. To him we pray: “Remember us when you enter upon your kingdom” (cf. Lk 23:42). This prayer was already answered because through Christ we have redemption, “In him we have redemption through his blood….” (Eph 1:7). He has transformed us through his gift of grace into his brothers and sisters of a king. We are now princes and princesses, a royal people, possessed of a dignity and worth which only God can grant (cf. 1 Pt 2:9). Now, we are offered to share Christ’s Kingship: In his eternal and universal kingdom – a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace (cf. Rom 14:17, Eucharistic Prayer). Our King is Christ the Lord.
This Sunday is the Feast of Christ the King. Let us pledge our allegiance to him and embrace his eternal and universal kingdom. “Jesus of Nazareth… is so intrinsically king that the title ‘King’ has actually become his name. By calling ourselves Christians, we label ourselves as followers of the king…. God did not intend Israel to have a kingdom. The kingdom was a result of Israel’s rebellion against God…. The law was to be Israel’s king, and, through the law, God himself…. God yielded to Israel’s obstinacy and so devised a new kind of kingship for them. The King is Jesus; in him God entered humanity and espoused it to himself. This is the usual form of the divine activity in relation to mankind. God does not have a fixed plan that he must carry out; on the contrary, he has many different ways of finding man and even of turning his wrong ways into right ways…. The feast of Christ the King is therefore not a feast who are subjugated, but a feast of those who know that they are in the hands of the one who writes straight on crooked lines” (Pope Benedict XVI).
Lord Jesus, be the Master and Ruler of my heart. May your love rule in my heart that I may only think and act with charity towards all.” In your Mighty Name, I pray. Amen.
Ez 34:11-12, 15-17 – As for you, my flock, I will judge between one sheep and another.
Thus says the Lord GOD:
I myself will look after and tend my sheep.
As a shepherd tends his flock
when he finds himself among his scattered sheep,
so will I tend my sheep.
I will rescue them from every place where they were scattered
when it was cloudy and dark.
I myself will pasture my sheep;
I myself will give them rest, says the Lord GOD.
The lost I will seek out,
the strayed I will bring back,
the injured I will bind up,
the sick I will heal,
but the sleek and the strong I will destroy,
shepherding them rightly.
As for you, my sheep, says the Lord GOD,
I will judge between one sheep and another,
between rams and goats.
The word of the Lord.
Ps 23:1-2, 2-3, 5-6
R. (1) The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
1 Cor 15:20-26, 28 – Christ will hand over the kingdom to his God and Father so that God may be all in all.
Brothers and sisters:
Christ has been raised from the dead,
the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
For since death came through man,
the resurrection of the dead came also through man.
For just as in Adam all die,
so too in Christ shall all be brought to life,
but each one in proper order:
Christ the firstfruits;
then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ;
then comes the end,
when he hands over the kingdom to his God and Father,
when he has destroyed every sovereignty
and every authority and power.
For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.
The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
When everything is subjected to him,
then the Son himself will also be subjected
to the one who subjected everything to him,
so that God may be all in all.
The word of the Lord.
Mt 25:31-46 – The Son of Man will sit upon his glorious throne and he will separate them one from another.
Bishop Robert Barron’s Homily –
Sunday Homily by Archbishop Jose H. Gomez, recorded live from the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.
Father Maximilian tells us that we see in the Gospel that Christ will come and render judgement over all on the last day, but we see that judgement is rendered on how we treated Christ present in others. Father continues to emphasize that we owe Christ our full fidelity, and that we must subject the world to the Kingship of Christ, but not by politics, violence, or enthusiasm, but by prayer and acts of charity to those in need. And what is the best, quickest, and most perfect way of doing this? By going to our Queen-Mother, and she will take us to the King!
Fr. Lou DelFra, C.S.C. preaches on the Solemnity of Christ the King at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at the University of Notre Dame.
Jesus said to his disciples:
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory,
and all the angels with him,
he will sit upon his glorious throne,
and all the nations will be assembled before him.
And he will separate them one from another,
as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Then the king will say to those on his right,
‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father.
Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me,
ill and you cared for me,
in prison and you visited me.’
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.’
Then he will say to those on his left,
‘Depart from me, you accursed,
into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
For I was hungry and you gave me no food,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
a stranger and you gave me no welcome,
naked and you gave me no clothing,
ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’
Then they will answer and say,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty
or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison,
and not minister to your needs?’
He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you,
what you did not do for one of these least ones,
you did not do for me.’ And these will go off to eternal punishment,
but the righteous to eternal life.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
Reflection 2 – Is my life committed to do the will of the Lord?
St. Francis of Assisi was riding his horse when one day he saw a leper by the roadside begging for money. He dismounted, gave him a coin and kissed him on the cheek. As he rode away, he looked back and thought for a moment that he saw Christ Himself standing where the beggar had stood.
This story illustrates that when we serve a needy person we serve the Lord. Jesus made this clear when He said that any kindness shown to the hungry, the thirsty, the homeless, the sick, the destitute, and the imprisoned will be judged as having been done directly to Him (Mt 25:40,45). He identifies so closely with the oppressed that serving them in His name is the same as serving Him.
We tend to limit our own service to Christ by thinking that ministers and missionaries are the best able to do it. But whenever we extend help in the name of Jesus through acts of caring, Jesus Himself is there even though we cannot see Him. And someday when we stand before Him, He will recall our deeds of love performed in Hi name and say, “Well done!”
When Jesus comes as King, He will judge on the basis on how people treated Him when He was hungry, thirsty, a stranger, naked, sick, or imprisoned (Mt 25:31-46). Those being judged will ask when they saw Him in these situations, and Jesus will say, “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me … Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Mt 25:34, 40). This is Christ offer for us today. But how do I treat and serve Christ among the least brothers and sisters of mine – the aborted babies whose Guardian Angels are crying for God’s help? Our love for Christ is only as real as our respect for the life, love and compassion for our least brothers and sisters.
When the Son of Man come in his glory, and all the angels with him… He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep and goats (Mt 25:31-33). The sheep symbolizes an obedient person who gives everything he has, even his life without complaining. The goat symbolizes a disobedient person who always complain, argue and quarrel his caretaker and neglectful of the needs of others. The scriptures present us with the choice between two kingdoms – the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness. The choice is ours. To accept Jesus as Lord and King is to enter a kingdom that will last forever where righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit dwells (Rom 14:17). It is a kingdom, not of deceit and destruction but of truth and life. It is a kingdom, not of evil and conceit but of holiness and grace. It is a kingdom, not of exploitation, hatred and violence but of justice, love and peace. As member of the Church we are called to be a sacrament of this kingdom, a sign to the world of what the kingdom of God really is. Is my life submitted to the Lordship of Jesus? How faithfully am I in practicing His prayer, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven” (Mt 6:10)? For more watch the video on Our Lord Jesus, Christ the King click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2014/11/21/readings-reflections-with-cardinal-tagles-video-the-solemnity-of-our-lord-jesus-christ-the-king-november-232014/
Reflection 3 – There will be final judgment to separate the righteous from the unrighteous
Today, Jesus portrays to us what will transpire the next time He comes around. He warns us that on His second coming, there will be final judgment in which He will separate the righteous from the unrighteous, the blessed from the cursed as He assigns one’s eternal state.
In arid lands, like Israel, goats and sheep often grazed together during the day because green pasture was sparse and quite limited. They were separated at night because goats not only needed shelter but were also less docile and obedient, more restless than sheep.
Separation is an inevitable consequence of judgment as in the case of the sheep and the goat. On Day of Judgment scripture says there will be separation. Those who showed true compassion and mercy toward their neighbor and those who could not have a heart for those in need of mercy and consideration will have to go separate ways. This highlights the truth that the kind of life we choose to live now and the moral choices we make will have consequences that determine our future — for better or for worse. Jesus teaches us in today’s gospel a very important lesson about loving our neighbor and taking responsibility for others. God will judge us not only for the wrong we have done but also for what we have failed to do.
Relating how He will judge every man, Jesus comes to us today with an exhortation that we have to minister to one another especially to the least of God’s people not simply from our humanistic concern but because we chose to stand with the outcasts and the unloved who actually represent Him. The support and the love we give the disadvantaged, the poor, the hungry and the homeless, only indicate the position we have taken in favor of rather than against God’s people and kingdom.
Jesus Himself said: The sheep he will place on his right hand, the goats on his left. The king will say to those on his right: ‘Come, you have my Father’s blessing! Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me. I was ill and you comforted me, in prison and you came to visit me… ‘I assure you, as often as you did it for one of my least brothers, you did it for me.’
Have we really ministered to the needs and concerns of God’s people?
Jesus is opening our hearts and minds to what He wants from us. He wants us to act on our lives, not sit around and be complacent and wait for a scout to blow his bugle to call us to action or to look for the rapture cloud. He wants us to get our act together today and for us to be able minister to one another, lift each other up to our Father and be One Body in His Name. We have to live everyday for God’s glory-work diligently, humbly and patiently. We should be salt of the earth and the light of the world as we await His return. Deep within our hearts, we should be able to claim clear passage into our Father’s kingdom because of our faith and the life we have led out of our love for Him and His people.
Whether we are absolutely confident that we are ready to face our Lord Jesus or not, we should take time to retreat and review our lives, acknowledge our faults and our sins. We should be able to pick up the bits and pieces of our lives without much constraint and start anew.
Repentance is key to live our lives for our Lord. We should never wait for another day. The time we finally make up our minds and decide to believe in Jesus and repent of our sins and live as He has lived could be shortly after His anticipated return. This can only make us only to look back with the pains of hell and judgment upon us rather than being able to look up to heaven and experience the joy and eternal happiness of being in our Father’s kingdom.
Jesus loved us, His people, to the point of dying for us on the cross. We may never equal what He did for us but we need to imitate Him and live for Him and His people. We must decide to bring God’s love, mercy and compassion upon the hungry, the thirsty, the oppressed, the sick, the stranger just as He did. We must be MEN for others… we must be CHRIST to all despite the obstacles! To do all these, we must have Christ as KING of our hearts… our Lord and Savior!
The command of the Lord is clear. We ought to minister to the least of our brethren not only in word but in deed. Jesus said: “I assure you, as often as you did it for one of my least brothers, you did it for me.”
Heavenly Father, guide me with your grace. Give me a heart full of love and compassion so that I may be able to share Christ with all your children, without reservation and without discrimination. All these I pray in Jesus. Amen.
Reflection 4 – Indifference Truly Hurts
Let me tell you a story I got from the web. A scientist tells God, “Look, God, the world does not need you anymore. Nowadays, we can do our own miracles. We can give new life to a dying man by transplanting organs and harvesting embryonic stem cells. We can now cure almost any disease, and we can even clone animals. Before long, we will be able to clone humans, too. I’m sorry, God, but I have to tell you that you have become obsolete.”
God listens patiently to the scientist and says, “I understand that. However, I love you, and I don’t want you to be miserable. You said you are going to clone humans. Let’s make sure you will not make a big irreversible mistake. So, I propose we hold a man-making contest.” The scientist replies, “That’s a good idea!” God says, “Okay,” God says. “Let’s do it the way I did it when I created Adam and Eve”. The scientist says, “No problem”, and reaches down to scoop up a handful of dirt. “Opps! Wait a minute”, God says. “You get your OWN dirt.”
Nowadays, Alzheimer’s disease has become so common. Many people are becoming forgetful about so many things, particularly about God. How many of us still remember the truth that “the earth is the LORD’S and all it holds, the world and those who live there” (Ps 24:1)? Everything comes from God, even the dirt that we stand on. As the first Book of Chronicles said, “Yours, O LORD, are grandeur and power, majesty, splendor, and glory. For all in heaven and on earth is yours; yours, O LORD, is the sovereignty; you are exalted as head over all. Riches and honor are from you, and you have dominion over all” (1Chro 29:11-12).
This global Alzheimer’s disease is the reason behind the celebration of the Solemnity of Christ the King. It was Pope Pius XI who instituted this feast in his encyclical “Quas Primas” in 1925. We may recall that at this time, the world was still recovering from the devastation caused by the First World War, and it was only a few years after the bloody Bolshevik Revolution of Russia, which gave birth to atheistic communism in the world. Everywhere the Pope looked, he saw human societies abandoning Christian values as they try to build a world independent from God and based solely on human powers and resources. With this dark backdrop in mind, he instituted this feast to remind the world that Jesus is the true King, and he is the only hope for the salvation of the world.
As Pope Pius IX wrote: “When once men recognize, both in private and in public life, that Christ is King, society will at last receive the great blessings of real liberty, well-ordered discipline, peace and harmony… That these blessings may be abundant and lasting in Christian society, it is necessary that the kingship of our Savior should be as widely as possible recognized and understood, and to that end nothing would serve better than the institution of a special feast in honor of the Kingship of Christ.” (Quas primas, #19, 21)
This feast is all the more necessary in our time. The world has grown from bad to worse. It is said that when you reject someone, at least you still consider him as an existent being. But when you ignore him, it simply means he does not anymore exist in your life. This is what is happening in the world nowadays. People do not anymore reject God; they simply ignore Him. They have all the time to have fun, watch television and indulge in all sorts of worldly activities and vices, but they do not have a minute to spare for God. In today’s world, it is our indifference that is hurting Jesus the most.
Let me share with you a poem that was often quoted by Bishop Fulton Sheen. It was written by Geoffrey Anketell Studdert-Kennedy, an Anglican priest in Leeds, England in 1883. He was a chaplain in World War I, and he had first-hand experience of the horrors of war and the cruelty of man. His poem is entitled “Indifference”, which is about the treatment of Christ in the poor in Birmingham, England and the indifference of modern men to Jesus.
“When Jesus came to Golgotha, they hanged Him on a tree, They drove great nails through hands and feet, and made a Calvary; They crowned Him with a crown of thorns, red were His wounds and deep, For those were crude and cruel days, and human flesh was cheap.
“When Jesus came to Birmingham, they simply passed Him by. They would not hurt a hair of Him, they only let Him die; For men had grown more tender, and they would not give Him pain, They only just passed down the street, and left Him in the rain.
“Still Jesus cried, ‘Forgive them, for they know not what they do.’ And still it rained the winter rain that drenched Him through and through; The crowds went home and left the streets without a soul to see, And Jesus crouched against a wall, and sighed… for Calvary!”
We can substitute the place Birmingham with the name of any city we live in, for this indifference to Jesus has become so universal in this modern world. Sad to say, we have to admit that this attitude applies even to Catholics. The Gospel on this Solemnity of Christ the King intends to shake us from our smug complacency and indifference: “What you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me. Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire!”
This is the last Sunday of the liturgical year. Every Sunday for the entire liturgical year we have heard the teachings and miracles of Jesus. It has been clearly illustrated to us, with preponderance of evidence, that Jesus is God, and that he reigns as King of the entire universe for all eternity. On this last Sunday, we are asked to make a decision: are we going to serve our King?
An affirmative response to this question may be easy to give, but it entails serious resolutions and hard decisions. Among these are to make God as the priority in our life; to worship and adore the real presence of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist; to set apart a meaningful time for prayer and scriptural reflection everyday; to reject all teachings and beliefs, attitudes and behavior that are contrary to the Gospel; to love and serve Jesus in the poor and the needy among us.
Let us pray in this Mass that the Lord may grant us all the graces we need to become true and loyal followers and servants of Jesus, the Eternal King (Fr. Mike Lagrimas, Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Palmera Springs, Camarin Road, Novaliches, Caloocan City 1423).
Reflection 5 – Thy Kingdom Come, on Earth as It Is in Heaven
Purpose: Freedom is the purpose of Christ’s Kingdom, and its freedom must be defended.
The Solemnity that we celebrate today, the Solemnity of Christ the King, was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1925, to be observed on a Sunday at the end of each liturgical year. So here we are, at the end of our liturgical year. Next Sunday is already the beginning of Advent, a new liturgical year. If you believe that the liturgical calendar trumps the secular calendar, and you really like New Year’s Eve parties, then you should throw one this weekend, right after Thanksgiving.
In 1925, Pius XI instructed his fellow bishops to see to it that sermons were preached to the people in every parish at the end of each liturgical year, specifically to proclaim the meaning, and the importance, of the Kingship of Christ. We are to consider how to order our lives, so as to be faithful and obedient subjects of Christ in his Kingdom here on earth. Back in 1925, Pius XI was struggling with the political agendas and maneuvers of Mussolini and similar regimes around the world. Pius XI had two major political headaches during his pontificate: Communism and Fascism.
You might have seen the film, For Greater Glory, about the Cristero War in Mexico. The Mexican Revolution had taken place from 1910 to 1920. Pius XI issued an encyclical, Quas Primas, in 1925, and instituted the Solemnity of Christ the King. It had a social and political meaning for the faithful, suffering oppression under many regimes. In Mexico, inspired by this encyclical and the new Solemnity, the Cristeros in 1926 began to defend religious freedom for Christ the King. Their battle cry was “¡Viva Cristo Rey!” “Long live Christ the King!”
In Italy, as you know, Mussolini was one of the founders of Modern Fascism. His mother was a faithful Catholic, but he had lost his faith at a young age, and became an atheist. Like Hitler and many others, he became an admirer of the German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche. On his 60th birthday, Mussolini received a special gift from Hitler of the complete 24-volume set of the works of Nietzsche. Of course, Mussolini and Hitler may have misinterpreted the philosophy of Nietzsche, or simply used it for their own political ends, their own will to power. But like Nietzsche, they abandoned, and then attacked, the Christian faith. Mussolini became an absolute dictator, and attempted to convince Catholics to support Fascism. At first, the Church attempted to cooperate with Mussolini, but soon he became very anticlerical, and insisted that the State had authority over the Church. Pius XI did his best to oppose both Communism and Fascism, and to defend the freedom of individuals, families, and religion.
The relation between Church and State has always been a major issue, from the very beginning of Christianity. Does the Church claim to have authority over the State? Is Christ a political rebel? Does he want to overthrow the government? Is he a threat to secular power? Does Christ want to be the king—or the dictator—in a political regime? Certainly, that is what Pilate wanted to know. Pilate wanted to know the intentions of Christ: “This Jesus and his disciples, certainly they have a moral agenda. So don’t they also have a political agenda? Aren’t they trying to impose their morals on everyone else through the use of political power?” Pilate ordered that the title, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews,” be written on a plaque in three languages and placed on the cross above Jesus’ head: abbreviated as INRI in Latin. The use of the title indicates that Pilate wanted him to be regarded as the leader of a rebellion against the authority of Rome.
But the Kingdom of Christ is not of this world. Certainly it is in the world, and the Church is that Kingdom, at least in embryonic form. We become citizens of that Kingdom of Christ by faith, repentance, and baptism. Baptism both signifies and produces an interior regeneration. Christ becomes the King of our souls, and establishes his reign in our hearts. He frees us from sin and from our self-centered thoughts and desires. The Kingdom has come and is coming. It is in the process of coming and being actualized. Thus, we pray, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” The Kingdom is the everlasting reign of Christ over the whole universe. He created it. He is its King. And he must be the King of our hearts.
Part of his creation rebels against his rule, and refuses to do his will. The rebellion includes mankind, which is why he became visible and asked us to accept his reign. Since Christ was born and came into this world, his Kingdom is now in this world. Christ came and asserted his right to rule the temporal order. He has that right. And the State must protect the freedom of his Church. But he does not seek to establish his reign by force or by fighting. His Kingdom is in this world, but it does not belong to this world. Our King allows us to defend ourselves against an unjust aggressor and to participate in a just war if necessary, but his Kingdom does not come through violence or coercion. His Kingdom must come freely and voluntarily. It comes only through faith, repentance, baptism, and works of mercy and charity. Christ seeks to enlighten everyone and inspire them to believe his word and to do these works. He came to testify to the truth, and the truth is that he is our King and Creator. Those who love truth listen to his voice. He speaks to us through his Church. His Kingdom will come at the end of time, and he will then separate the just from the unjust. But His Kingdom is also present in mystery here and now in the Church, in the Eucharist, and in the hearts of those who listen to him. May his Kingdom come, and may his will be done, on earth as it is in heaven! – Source: Homiletic and Pastoral Review).
Suggestions for Further Reading: Pius XI, Quas Primas, Encyclical, 11 December 1925 (online here)
Reflection 6 – The reign of Christ the King
When I was growing up I loved visiting my grandparents. They had a grand old house, which was great for exploring. My brother and I must have explored every nook and cranny. But my favorite part of the house was in the living room where at the front of the room an old piano stood. I was mesmerized by that old piano. When I got older, my Dad taught me a few songs on it, and one of the first ones that he taught me was “God Save the Queen.” You see, we are a Canadian family, and so “God Save the Queen” is part of our heritage. The second to the last line of that anthem has always struck me: “Long to reign over us.”
Today, we celebrate the reign of Christ the King as our King. The kingship of Christ is something that demands some pondering because, though Christ reigns, he does so in a way we would not normally expect of a king’s reign. The full title of this feast is “The Feast of Christ, the King of the Universe.” During the Jubilee year of Mercy, Pope Francis added another part to the title: “…the living face of the Father’s mercy.” So we can say that we celebrate today “The Feast of Christ, the King of the Universe, the living Face of the Father’s Mercy.” This title seems to be somewhat of a paradox. When we think of the king of the world, let alone the king of the universe, we might tend to imagine a powerful, distant leader, disconnected from ordinary people. But on the other hand, Christ is the face of the Father’s mercy, the one who binds up our wounds, heals us, blesses us, and saves us. It seems peculiar that He can be both the King of the universe, and the face of mercy. However, our readings today give us a glimpse of how Christ is both king and the face of the Father’s mercy, all at the same time.
In the first reading from Ezekiel, we see the living face of the Father’s mercy. We see the one who is close to his people. We see Christ using his mercy to seek us out. We hear him say, “The lost I will seek out, the strayed I will bring back, the injured I will bind up, the sick I will heal.” Even in our sinfulness, Christ seeks us out in order to be for us the living face of the Father’s mercy. He is not distant from us, but rather searches us out to heal us. It is in this way of mercy that he exercises his kingship. In the First Letter to the Corinthians today, Paul says that Christ must reign until he has put all things under his feet, and the last enemy to be destroyed is death. He does not come to us by force, or search us out against our will, but he reigns over us by showering his mercy upon us continually. On the wood of the cross, the crucified Lord shows his power to the world when he is at his weakest, so that he may also be at the same time our reigning Lord. We share in this reign, because when we are at our weakest, Christ comes to us, and makes us strong.
The king of the universe, and the face of the Father’s mercy, are connected in the Gospel. Christ will come and judge us by how merciful we have been to others. The King of the universe wants us to be the face of his mercy to one another. He will judge us by how we have fed the hungry, clothed the naked, and visited the imprisoned. Because he is our King, and the face of the Father’s mercy, we have received much from him through our baptism, the Eucharist, Reconciliation, and the other sacraments. We perform the works of mercy listed in today’s Gospel in order to give the mercy we have received from Christ to others. Where the poor, or the naked, or imprisoned are, Christ is there among them. That is why whatsoever we do to the least of his people we do unto him. He will judge us by how much of what we have received from him we give to others. It is in participating in these works of mercy that we help bring forth Christ’s reign as King to the entire world, because by his mercy he shows us his power.
Christ reigns today through his Church, and as beneficiaries of his reign, as we have received his mercy in various ways, we are called to let others know that Christ reigns as the king of the universe by showing mercy to them and thus, being for them the face of the Father’s mercy. By our works of mercy, we not only proclaim Christ crucified, and risen from the dead, but we also proclaim that he is reigning even now, and will return in glory to judge the living and the dead.
By giving mercy to others in the same way that Christ has given mercy to us, we share in his reign as King. Since Christ has given us his mercy while we were yet sinners, this means that his mercy has been extended to us even when we may not deserve it. We then are called to be merciful in the same way. Perhaps someone in our lives has treated us poorly, or there is a rift in a relationship. It is when we can show mercy to that person that we will help Christ’s reign be made known.
Perhaps, instead of putting our head down, staring at our feet, when we walk by the homeless person on the street, we can say “hello,” and try to start a conversation, or perhaps, we can forgive someone who has hurt us in the past, whether or not they have asked for our pardon. In doing so, we will be the face of the Father’s mercy, and proclaim Christ’s kingship to the world.
Christ does reign over us. Long may he reign over us! How will you proclaim his reign as King to others today? – Read the source: http://www.hprweb.com/2017/10/homilies-for-november-2017/
Reflection 7 – Come.. inherit the kingdom prepared for you
Do you allow the love of Christ, who is your Lord and King, to rule in your heart? Augustine of Hippo (354-430 A.D.) said, “Essentially, there are two kinds of people, because there are two kinds of love. One is holy, the other is selfish. One is subject to God; the other endeavors to equal Him.” Jesus came not only to fulfill the law of righteousness (Leviticus 19), but to transform it through his unconditional love and mercy towards us.
The Lord Jesus proved his love for us by offering up his life on the cross as the atoning sacrifice for our sins. His death brings freedom and life for us – freedom from fear, selfishness, and greed – and new abundant life in the Holy Spirit who fills our hearts with the love of God (Romans 5:5). Do you allow God’s love to purify your heart and transform your mind to think, act, and love others as the Lord Jesus has taught through word and example?
The lesson of separating goats and sheep at the end of the day
Jesus’ description of the “Son of Man”, a Messianic title which points to the coming of God’s anointed Ruler and Judge over the earth (John 5:26-29, Daniel 7:13ff), and his parable about the separation of goats and sheep must have startled his audience. What does the separation of goats and sheep have to do with the Day of God’s Judgement over the earth? In arid dry lands such as Palestine, goats and sheep often grazed together during the day because green pasture was sparse. At nightfall, when the shepherd brought the sheep and goats to their place of rest, he separated them into two groups. Goats by temperament are aggressive, domineering, restless, and territorial. They butt heads with their horns whenever they think someone is intruding on their space.
Goats came to symbolize evil and the expression “scape-goat” become a common expression for someone bearing blame or guilt for others. (See Leviticus 26:20-22 for a description of the ritual expulsion of a sin-bearing goat on the Day of Atonement.) Jesus took our guilt and sins upon himself and nailed them to the cross. He payed the price to set us free from sin and death. Our choice is either to follow and obey him as our Lord and Savior or to be our own master and go our own separate way apart from God’s way of truth and righteousness (moral goodness). We cannot remain neutral or indifferent to the commands of Christ. If we do not repent of our wrongdoing (our sins and offenses against God and neighbor) and obey the Gospel we cannot be disciples of the Lord Jesus nor inherit his kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy. Separation of the good from the bad is inevitable because one way leads to sin, rebellion, and death and the other way leads to purification, peace, and everlasting life with God.
Love of God frees us from inordinate love of self
The parable of the goats and sheep has a similar endpoint as the parable of the rich man who refused to give any help to the poor man Lazarus who begged daily at the rich man’s doorstep (Luke 16:19-31). Although Lazarus was poor and lacked what he needed, he nonetheless put his hope in God and the promise of everlasting life in God’s kingdom. The rich man was a lover of wealth rather than a lover of God and neighbor. When Lazarus died he was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom to receive his reward in heaven. When the rich man died his fortunes were reversed and he was cast into the unquenchable fires of hell to receive his just desserts. The parable emphasizes the great chasm and wall of separation between the former rich man held now bound as a poor and miserable prisoner in hell and Lazarus clothed in royal garments feasting at God’s banquet table in the kingdom of heaven.
The day of God’s righteous judgment will disclose which kind of love we chose in this present life – a holy unselfish love directed to God and to the welfare of our neighbor or a disordered and selfish love that puts oneself above God and the good of our neighbor.
When Martin of Tours (316-397 AD), a young Roman soldier who had been reluctant to fully commit his life to Christ and be baptized as a Christian, met a poor beggar on the road who had no clothes to warm himself in the freezing cold, Martin took pity on him. He immediately got off his horse and cut his cloak in two and then gave half to the stranger. That night Martin dreamt he saw a vision of Jesus in heaven robed in a torn cloak just like the one he gave away that day to the beggar. One of the angels next to Jesus asked, “Master, why do you wear that battered cloak?” Jesus replied, “My servant Martin gave it to me.” Martin’s disciple and biographer Sulpicius Severus states that as a consequence of this vision “Martin flew to be baptized” to give his life fully to Christ as a member of his people – the body of Christ on earth and the communion of saints and angels in heaven.
Augustine of Hippo (354-430 A.D.) wrote, “Christ is at once above and below – above in Himself, below in his people. Fear Christ above, and recognize him below. Here he is poor, with and in the poor; there he is rich, with and in God. Have Christ above bestowing his bounty; recognize him here in his need” (excerpt from Sermon 123, 44).
On the day of judgment Jesus will ask “whom did you love”?
When the Lord Jesus comes again as Judge and Ruler over all, he will call each one of us to stand before his seat of judgment to answer the question – who did you love and put first in this life? Inordinate love of self crowds out love of God and love of neighbor. Those who put their faith in Jesus Christ and follow his way of love and righteousness will not be disappointed. They will receive the just reward – life and peace with God in his everlasting kingdom.
If we entrust our lives to the Lord Jesus today, and allow his Holy Spirit to purify our hearts and minds, then he will give us the grace, strength, and freedom to walk and live each day in the power of his merciful love and goodness. Let us entrust our lives into the hands of the merciful Savior who gave his life for us. And let us ask the Lord Jesus to increase our faith, strengthen our hope, and enkindle in us the fire of his merciful love and compassion for all.
“Lord Jesus, be the Master and Ruler of my life. May your love rule in my heart that I may only think, act, and speak with charity and good will for all.” – Read the source: http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/nov26.htm
Reflection 8 – Loan to the Lord
He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, and He will pay back what he has given. —Proverbs 19:17
A father gave his little boy 50 cents and told him he could use it any way he wanted. Later when Dad asked about it, the boy told him that he had lent it to someone.
“Who did you lend it to?” he asked. The boy answered, “I gave it to a poor man on the street because he looked hungry.”
“Oh, that was foolish. You’ll never get it back,” replied the father. “But Daddy, the Bible says that people who give to the poor lend to the Lord.”
The father was so pleased with the son’s reply that he gave the boy another 50 cents. “See,” said the son. “I told you I would get it back—only I didn’t think it would be so soon!”
Has the Lord ever asked you for a loan? Have you ever recognized in the needs of others a direct request from heaven for some of what you have? The Bible warns against the sin of passing by the needy with pious words while keeping a tight grip on our wallets (James 2:14-17). And Galatians 6:10 says that we are to “do good to all.”
We aren’t promised that we’ll get rewarded immediately. But in Jesus’ teaching to His followers about His return, He says we will be rewarded for giving of ourselves to others in His name (Matthew 25:34-46). — Henry G. Bosch
Give as you would to the Master
If you met His searching look;
Give as you would of your substance
If His hand your offering took! —Anon.
You may give without loving but you can’t love without giving (Source: Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries).
Reflection 9 – Christ the King
“Can there be a power not obtained by human means? A power which does not respond to the logic of domination and force? Jesus came to reveal and bring a new kingship, that of God; he came to bear witness to the truth of a God who is love (cf. 1 Jn 4:8, 16), who wants to establish a kingdom of justice, love, and peace. Whoever is open to love hears this testimony and accepts it with faith, to enter the Kingdom of God.
“The power of the true Messiah, the power which will never pass away or be destroyed, is not the power of the kingdom of the earth, which rise and fall, but the power of truth and love. In this way we understand how the kingship proclaimed by Jesus in the parables and openly and explicitly revealed before the Roman procurator, is the kingship of truth, the one which gives all things their light and grandeur.
“By his sacrifice, Jesus has opened for us the path to a profound relationship with God: in him we have become true adopted children and thus shares in his kingship over the world. To be disciples of Jesus, then, means not letting ourselves be allured by the worldly logic of power, but bringing into the world the light of truth and God’s love.
“We invoke the kingdom daily in the prayer of the ‘Our Father’ with the words ‘Thy kingdom come’; in effect we say to Jesus: Lord, make us yours, live in us, gather together a scattered and suffering humanity, so that in you all may be subjected to the Father of mercy and love” (Pope Benedict XVI, 2005-2013).
Reflection 10 – You did it to me
“Jesus became the hungry one, so that you and I could satisfy his hunger, cover his nakedness, and offer him shelter. He said, “You did it to me. I was hungry. I was naked. I was homeless.” The forgotten man in the street, the one we picked up in the streets of Calcutta, was Jesus bearing that man’s appearance. It was Jesus who was hungry. I will never forget the man who was half-eaten by worms when we found him. He was tenderly carried to the home for dying destitute. On the way, he murmured: “I have lived like an animal, but now I am going to die loved and surrounded with care.” That is how he died and went home to God. That was Jesus under the disguise of the poor.
“One of our novices had come from a far-off country and a well-to-do family. She was sent right away to our home for the destitute who are dying, just like the rest of the novices. Before they left I told them, “During Mass you have seen with what care and tenderness the priest touched the body of Christ changed into the Bread of Life. Do the same in the home for dying destitute.”
“Three hours later the novices returned. The newly arrived novice came up to me and said full of joy, “Mother, I have been touching the Body of Christ for three hours!” I asked her, “What have you done?” She said that she had rescued a man lying in the gutter, half eaten by worms. “I really felt that I was touching the Body of Christ as Jesus said, ‘I was sick…, ‘” she continued.
“That young sister was contemplative. She had been touching Christ for three hours and offering her love to him. To be able to do the same, it is necessary to know the poor….
“It would be sad if you didn’t know your own poor. Just as love begins at home, so too poverty begins at home. You need to know who is lonely, unloved, and forgotten in your own homes” (Source: Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, +1997, Magnificat, Vol. 17, No. 12, February 2016, pp. 205-206).
Reflection 11 – Christ the King
“Christ came to gather the scattered and to lead them back to the proper state of man or to the practice of the one religion (cf. Jn 4:20-23, Eph 1:10). For the people were subjected to different kings, adopted different laws, and were corrupted by different errors. We read in Judges (Jgs 17): In those days there was no king in Israel (Jgs 17:6) and in Hosea 3:4: Many days the children of Israel sat down, without a king or a ruler (as well as without sacrifice or altar, as without priestly garb or house gods).
“And therefore Christ came, in order to be the one reigning king of the whole world himself, whose dominion would be universal, whose empire universal, and whose reign eternal. And this is shown clearly in his birth, because then he manifested himself as the king of the people when kings adored him (Mt 2:11); as the king of the angels playing on their stringed instrument as they rejoiced (Lk 2:13-14); as king of the (Jews) awaiting him because the shepherds listened (Lk 2:15-16); as king of the heavenly bodies because the stars knew him (Ps 148:3)….
“Furthermore, he came so that there would be one law moving the people of the whole world forward…. Therefore, because there was an imperfect law, another legislator had to come whose task would be to give a general law for all, as we read in the last chapter of Mark (16:15): Go into the whole world, preach the Gospel to every creature….
“Moreover, a spiritual law is written in the hearts of the people, as it says in Jeremiah 31: I will put my law within them and I will write it in their hearts (Jer 31:33).
“Even more, the law of love (amor) which speaks of heavenly things: Do penance; the Kingdom of heaven has drawn near, as Matthew 3:2 reads, and Isaiah 33:22: The Lord, our king, the Lord, our lawgiver. And the Psalmist says: Establish, O Lord, a legislator over them, so that they may know that they are mere human beings (Ps 9:21). – (Source: St. Thomas Aquinas, +1274 A.D., Magnificat, Vol. 19, No. 9, November 2017, pp. 376-377).
Reflection 12 – Christ the King and Blessed Miguel Agustín Pro (1891-1927 A.D.)
Today is the solemnity of Jesus Christ the King. This feast was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1925 in response to the atheist and totalitarian political regimes that denied the rights of God and the Church. The climate in which the feast was born was, for example, that of the Mexican revolution, when many Christians went to their deaths crying to their last breath, “Long live Christ the King!”
¡Viva Cristo Rey! (Long live Christ the King) were the last words Fr. Pro uttered before he was executed for being a Catholic priest and serving his flock.
Born into a prosperous, devout family in Guadalupe de Zacatecas, Mexico, he entered the Jesuits in 1911, but three years later fled to Granada, Spain, because of religious persecution in Mexico. He was ordained in Belgium in 1925.
Fr. Pro immediately returned to Mexico, where he served a Church forced to go “underground.” He celebrated the Eucharist clandestinely and ministered the other sacraments to small groups of Catholics.
He and his brother Roberto were arrested on trumped-up charges of attempting to assassinate Mexico’s president. Roberto was spared but Miguel was sentenced to face a firing squad on November 23, 1927. His funeral became a public demonstration of faith. He was beatified in 1988.
Read the source: http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1208
When Father Miguel Pro was executed in 1927, no one could have predicted that 52 years later the bishop of Rome would visit Mexico, be welcomed by its president and celebrate open-air Masses before thousands of people. Pope John Paul II made additional trips to Mexico in 1990, 1993, 1999 and 2002. Those who outlawed the Catholic Church in Mexico did not count on the deeply rooted faith of its people and the willingness of many of them, like Miguel Pro, to die as martyrs.
During his homily at the beatification Mass, Pope John Paul II said that Fr. Pro “is a new glory for the beloved Mexican nation, as well as for the Society of Jesus. His life of sacrificing and intrepid apostolate was always inspired by a tireless evangelizing effort. Neither suffering nor serious illness, neither the exhausting ministerial activity, frequently carried out in difficult and dangerous circumstances, could stifle the radiating and contagious joy which he brought to his life for Christ and which nothing could take away (see John 16:22). Indeed, the deepest root of self-sacrificing surrender for the lowly was his passionate love for Jesus Christ and his ardent desire to be conformed to him, even unto death.”
Feast of Christ the King
The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, commonly referred to as the Feast of Christ the King, is a relatively recent addition to the Western liturgical calendar, having been instituted in 1925 by Pope Pius XI for the Roman Catholic Church. In 1970 its Roman Catholic observance was moved to the final Sunday of Ordinary Time. Therefore, the earliest date on which it can occur is 20 November and the latest is 26 November. Traditional Catholics observe it on its original date, the last Sunday of October. The Anglican, Lutheran, and many other Protestant churches adopted it along with the Revised Common Lectionary, occasionally referring to it as Christ the King Sunday. It is also observed on the same computed date as the final Sunday of the ecclesiastical year, the Sunday before the First Sunday of Advent, by Western rite parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. Roman Catholics adhering to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite as permitted under the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum use the General Roman Calendar of 1960, and as such continue to observe the Solemnity on its original date of the final Sunday of October.
Origin and history in the Roman Catholic Church
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According to Cyril of Alexandria, “Christ has dominion over all creatures, …by essence and by nature.” His kingship is founded upon the hypostatic union. “…[T]he Word of God, as consubstantial with the Father, has all things in common with him, and therefore has necessarily supreme and absolute dominion over all things created.”
“From this it follows that to Christ angels and men are subject. Christ is also King by acquired, as well as by natural right, for he is our Redeemer. …’ We are no longer our own property, for Christ has purchased us “with a great price”; our very bodies are the “members of Christ.” A third ground of sovereignty is that God bestowed upon Christ the nations of the world as His special possession and dominion. “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Matthew 28:18)
The feast has an eschatological dimension pointing to the end of time when the kingdom of Jesus will be established in all its fullness to the ends of the earth. It also leads into Advent, when the Church commemorates the arrival of the newborn king.
The title of the feast was “Domini Nostri Jesu Christi Regis” (Our Lord Jesus Christ the King), and the date was established as “the last Sunday of the month of October – the Sunday, that is, which immediately precedes the Feast of All Saints“. In Pope St. John XXIII‘s revision of the Calendar in 1960, the date and title were unchanged but, according to the simplification of the ranking of feasts, it was classified as a feast of the first class.
In his motu proprio Mysterii Paschalis of 1969, Bl. Pope Paul VI amended the title of the Feast to “D. N. Iesu Christi universorum Regis” (Our Lord Jesus Christ King of the Universe). He also moved it to the new date of the final Sunday of the liturgical year, before the commencement of a new liturgical year on the First Sunday of Advent (the earliest date for which is 27 November). Through this choice of date “the eschatological importance of this Sunday is made clearer”. He assigned to it the highest rank of “solemnity”.
In the extraordinary form, as happens with all Sundays whose liturgies are replaced by those of important feasts, the prayers of the Sunday on which the celebration of the feast of Christ the King occurs are used on the ferias (weekdays) of the following week. The Sunday liturgy is thus not totally omitted.
In 2017, the Solemnity day falls on 26 November (or 29 October for those using the traditional calendar). The liturgical vestments for the day are colored white or gold, in keeping with other joyous feasts honoring Christ.
Significance for the Laity
While the encyclical that established this feast was addressed, according to the custom of the time, to the Catholic Bishops, Pope Pius XI wanted the Feast to impact the laity:
“If to Christ our Lord is given all power in heaven and on earth; if all men, purchased by his precious blood, are by a new right subjected to his dominion; if this power embraces all men, it must be clear that not one of our faculties is exempt from his empire. He must reign in our minds, which should assent with perfect submission and firm belief to revealed truths and to the doctrines of Christ. He must reign in our wills, which should obey the laws and precepts of God. He must reign in our hearts, which should spurn natural desires and love God above all things, and cleave to him alone. He must reign in our bodies and in our members, which should serve as instruments for the interior sanctification of our souls, or to use the words of the Apostle Paul, as instruments of justice unto God.” 
Observance in other churches
Those churches that use the Revised Common Lectionary observe Christ the King Sunday as the final Sunday of their liturgical years. These churches include most major Anglican and mainline Protestant groups, including the Church of England, Episcopal Church, Anglican Church in North America, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and other Lutheran groups, United Methodist Church and other Methodist groups, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the United Church of Christ, and the Moravian Church. Some, such as the Uniting Church in Australia refer to it in non-gendered terms as feast of The Reign of Christ.
In the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Sweden, this day is referred to as the Sunday of Doom, previously highlighting the final judgement, though after the Lectionary of 1983 the theme of the day was amended to the Return of Christ. In the Church in Wales, part of the Anglican Communion, the 4 Sundays before Advent are called the “Sundays of the Kingdom” and Christ the King is observed as a season and not a single festal day.
- Fraternity of St. Gregory the Great calendar
- Churchyear.net, a Catholic blog
- Pope Pius XI, Quas primas, §7, Libreria Editrice Vaticana
- Quas primas, §13.
- Pope Pius XI, Quas primas, §28, Libreria Editrice Vaticana
- Calendarium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1969), p. 63
- motu proprio Mysterii Paschalis
- Examples are the Solemnities of Pentecost and the Most Holy Trinity. Indeed before the reform of Pope St. Pius X most Sundays deferred to any feast of the rank of double, and these were the majority. (Missale Romanum, published by Pustet, 1862)
- “Liturgical Calendar for the Dioceses of the United States of America”. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. 2014.
- “Liturgical Calendar 2015”. The Latin Mass Society of England and Wales. 2015.
- Pope Pius XI, Quas primas, §33, Libreria Editrice Vaticana