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 – He reigns! click below:
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 1 – When the end comes
Dr. Scott Hahn’s reflection click below:
For instance, Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta used to say of her work with the destitute: “In Holy Communion we have Christ under the appearance of bread. In our work we find Him under the appearance of flesh and blood. It is the same Christ. ‘I was hungry, I was naked, I was sick, I was homeless.’”
St. John Chrysostom, the great patriarch of Eastern Catholicism, said the same thing in the fourth century: “Do you wish to honour the body of Christ? Do not ignore Him when He is naked. Do not pay Him homage in the temple clad in silk only then to neglect Him outside where He suffers cold and nakedness. He who said: ‘This is my body’ is the same One who said: ‘You saw me hungry and you gave me no food’, and ‘Whatever you did to the least of my brothers you did also to me’ . . . What good is it if the Eucharistic table is overloaded with golden chalices, when He is dying of hunger? Start by satisfying His hunger, and then with what is left you may adorn the altar as well.”
The Church year ends today with a vision of the end of time. The scene in the Gospel is stark and resounds with Old Testament echoes.
The Son of Man is enthroned over all nations and peoples of every language (see Daniel 7:13-14). The nations have been gathered to see His glory and receive His judgment (see Isaiah 66:18; Zephaniah 3:8). The King is the divine shepherd Ezekiel foresees in today’s First Reading, judging as a shepherd separates sheep from goats.
Each of us will be judged upon our performance of the simple works of mercy we hear in the Gospel today.
These works, as Jesus explains today, are reflections or measures of our love for Him, our faithfulness to His commandment that we love God with all our might and our neighbor as ourselves (see Matthew 22:36-40).
Our faith is dead, lifeless, unless it be expressed in works of love (see James 2:20; Galatians 5:6). And we cannot say we truly love God, whom we cannot see, if we don’t love our neighbor, whom we can (see 1 John 4:20).
He healed our sickness (see Luke 6:19), freed us from the prison of sin and death (see Romans 8:2,21), welcomed us who were once strangers to His covenant (see Ephesians 2:12,19). He clothed us in baptism (see Revelation 3:5; 2 Corinthians 5:3-4), and feeds us with the food and drink of His own body and blood.
At “the end,” He will come again to hand over His kingdom to His Father, as Paul says in today’s Epistle.
Let us strive to be following Him in right paths, that this kingdom might be our inheritance, that we might enter into the eternal rest promised for the people of God (see Hebrews 4:1,9-11). – Read the source: https://stpaulcenter.com/when-the-end-comes-scott-hahn-reflects-on-the-solemnity-of-christ-the-king/
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/2017/11/25/readings-reflections-with-cardinal-tagles-video-solemnity-of-our-lord-jesus-christ-the-king-of-the-universe-a-st-columban-november-262017/
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 – The Heavenly Kingdom
1) Christ, King on the Cross.
This Sunday, the last of the liturgical year, celebrates Jesus the King of the universe. Christ is the King, he holds the world from the Cross and asks us to participate in his royalty kneeling in front of his throne of Love, the Cross, and before our brothers in the same way He, the King, has kneeled to wash the feet of his Apostles.
During the liturgical year, the Church makes us follow the path of faith and charity that embraces the story of redemption. This liturgical journey begins with Advent, the time of waiting for God’s coming, that is fulfilled at Christmas when we received the great and happy news that God really did became one of us. Next, during Lent, comes the conversion time that prepares us for Easter and, after fifty days, with Pentecost, the beginning of the Church’s journey. In this ‘pilgrimage’, God accompanies us with His Love and His Grace, as long as we decide to walk with Him.
On the Sunday that concludes the liturgical year celebrating Christ the King, we reflect on the meaning of this Solemnity meditating on the scene of the “universal judgment” (Mt 25: 31-46). It is precisely this evangelical page that reveals the upsetting meaning of the kingship of Christ who asks us: did we really choose to follow this crucified King who was crucified for and by love?
He is a King who asks us to do good to others and who does not ask anything for himself. In fact, he gave everything to us, dying on the cross and sacrificing for us. A special king, out of the royalty and kingdoms of this Earth which have the aims of subjugating people and the world to their ideas and supremacy.
He is a king whose kingdom is built every day by the work of those who believe in Christ and in the values proclaimed by Him.
We are reminded of this by the Preface of the Solemnity of Christ the King ”God, you have with oil of exultation consecrated your only Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, as eternal Priest and King of the universe. He, sacrificing himself on the altar of the Cross as immaculate victim of peace, has operated the mystery of human redemption; subjugating all creatures to his power, he offered to your infinite majesty the eternal and universal kingdom: the kingdom of truth and life, the kingdom of holiness and grace, the kingdom of justice, love and peace. ”
Therefore, the kingdom of God is not a matter of honor and appearance but of “justice, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Rm 14, 17).
To better understand this, we must start from the throne of Christ which is the Cross. On the Cross on Calvary, Christ manifests his singular royalty. On Calvary two opposing attitudes are confronted. Some people at the foot of the cross, and even one of the two robbers on the cross, contemptuously talk to the Crucified saying “If you are the Christ, the King Messiah, save yourself coming down from the cross”. Jesus, on the other hand, reveals his kingdom by remaining on the cross as the sacrificed Lamb. Unexpectedly, the other thief stands by Him implicitly confessing the royalty of the innocent, and begging “Remember me, when you enter into your kingdom” (Lk 23:42). Saint Ambrose of Milan commented “He begged the Lord to remember him when He came to his kingdom, but the Lord said to him: Truly, truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise. Life is to be with Christ, because where there is Christ there is the Kingdom “(Exposition of the Gospel according to Luke, 10,121).
Let us too turn with humility to Christ and He will welcome us into His Kingdom of eternal life.
2) Prayer and charity.
The Kingdom where Christ welcomes us and that the Redeemer gives to us is not a place or something but Himself. He gives us his heart, his word, and his feelings. As answer, he does not want something we have but everything we are. It does not matter if we present this offer like the poor widow who puts everything she has, few coins, in the treasury, or like Zacchaeus who offered half of his goods. The important thing is to imitate the Virgin Mary who gladly offered herself and became on earth the paradise of the Son of Heaven The important thing is to live the gift of self to God with joy.
To educate ourselves to this total offer, we must live charity by giving to the last ones. Giving to the poor, we give to God and he gratefully welcomes us with them saying “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.’ “(Mt 25: 31-46).
In this regard Saint Augustine comments: “No one must be hesitant to give alms to the poor, no one must believe that it is received by the one of whom he sees the hand; the One who has commanded to give it, receives it. We do not say this based on our feelings or on human conjecture; listen to Him who not only exhorts you to do so, but also gives you the guarantee. I was hungry – it is said – and you gave me food. After the enumeration of their services [the righteous] will ask [to the Lord]: When did we ever see you hungry? And he will answer: All that you have done to one of the youngest of my brothers, you did it to me. A poor begs for alms, but it is a rich man who receives it; it is given to one who spends it for himself, but it is received by the One who will give it back. He will not only give back what he receives: he wants to take with interest, he promises more than you have given. Put out all your greediness of money; think to be a usurer. If you really were so, you would have been rebuked by the Church, you would be condemned by the word of God, and you would be detested by all your brothers as a cruel usurer earnest to gain on the tears of others. Be a usurer, no one forbids you. Instead of lending to a poor man who will cry when he will give back to you, lend to one who is able to return and also exhorts you to receive what he promises “(Sermon 86: 3).
Of this charity towards the neighbor the consecrated virgins are a very important example. In fact, what is given to God it is not detract from men because with virginity they consecrate to God their love, their heart, their thoughts. The consecrated person does not forget and neglects this world and the men and women who in it struggle and suffer. The Christian God is Love that does not receive but gives, or better He is a God who receives not to retain for himself but to give it back more plentiful. Therefore, what is given to God, is a love flowing upon men enriched by God’s own love. It is not an impoverished love, but a love made stronger and therefore more committed and fruitful. That is why the great majority of charitable works toward the poor have been made by virgins, the last being Saint Teresa of Calcutta who became a missionary of charity serving the poorest of the poor because she totally donated herself to God.
Saint John Chrysostom
“When the Son of Man shall come in the glory of His Father, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit,” saith He, “upon the throne of His glory, and He shall divide the sheep from the kids;”1 [and the one He will accept, because they fed Him, when an hungered, and gave Him drink when thirsty, and took Him in when a stranger, and clothed Him when naked, and visited Him when sick, and came to see Him when in prison: and He will give the kingdom to them. But the others, accusing them for the opposite things, He will send into the eternal fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.]2
Unto this most delightful portion of Scripture, which we do not cease continually revolving, let us now listen with all earnestness and compunction, this wherewith His discourse ended, even as the last thing, reasonably; for great indeed was His regard for philanthropy and mercy. Wherefore in what precedes He had discoursed concerning this in a different way; and here now in some respects more clearly, and more earnestly, not setting forth two nor three nor five persons, but the whole world; although most assuredly the former places, which speak of two persons, meant not two persons, but two portions of mankind, one of them that disobey, the other of the obedient. But here He handleth the word more fearfully, and with fuller light. Wherefore neither doth He say, “The kingdom is likened,” any more, but openly shows Himself, saying, “When the Son of Man shall come in His glory.” For now is He come in dishonor, now in affronts and reproaches; but then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory.
And continually doth He make mention of glory. For since the cross was near, a thing that seemed to be matter of reproach, for this cause He raises up the hearer; and brings before his sight the judgment seat, and setteth round him all the world.
And not in this way only doth He make His discourse awful, but also by showing the Heavens opened. For all the angels will be present with Him, He saith, themselves also to bear witness, in how many things they had ministered, when sent by the Lord for the salvation of men.
And everything will help to render that day fearful. Then, “shall be gathered together,” He saith, “all nations,” that is, the whole race of men. “And He shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd his sheep.” For now they are not separated, but all mingled together, but the division then shall be made with all exactness. And for a while it is by their place that He divides them, and makes them manifest; afterwards by the names He indicates the dispositions of each, calling the one kids,3 the other sheep, that He might indicate the unfruitfulness of the one, for no fruit will come from kids; and the great profit from the other, for indeed from sheep great is the profit, as well from the milk, as from the wool, and from the young, of all which things the kid4 is destitute.
But while the brutes have from nature their unfruitfulness, and fruitfulness, these have it from choice, wherefore some are punished, and the others crowned. And He doth not punish them, until He hath pleaded with them; wherefore also, when He hath put them in their place, He mentions the charges against them. And they speak with meekness, but they have no advantage from it now; and very reasonably, because they passed by a work so much to be desired. For indeed the prophets are everywhere saying this, “I will have mercy and not sacrifice,”5 and the lawgiver by all means urged them to this, both by words, and by works; and nature herself taught it.
But mark them, how they are destitute not of one or two things only, but of all. For not only did they fail to feed the hungry, or clothe the naked; but not even did they visit the sick, which was an easier thing.
And mark how easy are His injunctions. He said not, “I was in prison, and ye set me free; I was sick, and ye raised me up again;” but, “ye visited me,” and, “ye came unto me.” And neither in hunger is the thing commanded grievous. For no costly table did He seek, but what is needful only, and His necessary food, and He sought in a suppliant’s garb, so that all things were enough to bring punishment on them; the easiness. of the request, for it was bread; the pitiable character of Him that requesteth, for He was. poor; the sympathy of nature, for He was a man; the desirableness of the promise, for He promised a kingdom; the fearfulness of the punishment, for He threatened hell. The dignity of the one receiving, for it was God, who was receiving by the poor; the surpassing nature of the honor, that He vouchsafed to condescend so far; His just claim for what they bestowed. for of His own was He receiving. But against all these things covetousness once for all blinded them that were seized by it; and this though so great a threat was set against it.
For further back also He saith, that they who receive not such as these shall suffer more grievous things than Sodom; and here He saith, “Inasmuch as ye did it not unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye did it not unto me.”6 What sayest Thou? they are Thy brethren; and how dost Thou call them least. Why, for this reason they are brethren, because they are lowly, because they are poor, because they are outcast. For such doth He most invite to brotherhood, the unknown, the contemptible, not meaning by these the monks only, and them that have occupied the mountains, but every believer; though he be a secular person, yet if he be hungry, and famishing, and naked, and a stranger, His will is he should have the benefit of all this care. For baptism renders a man a brother, and the partaking of the divine mysteries.
2. Then, in order that thou mayest see in another way also the justice of the sentence, He first praises them that have done right, and saith, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you before the foundation of the world. For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat,” and all that follows.7 For that they may not say, we had it not, He condemns them by their fellow-servants; like as the virgins by the virgins, and the servant that was drunken and gluttonous by the faithful servant, and him that buried his talent, by them that brought the two, and each one of them that continue in sin, by them that have done right.
And this comparison is sometimes made in the case of an equal, as here, and in the instance of the virgins, sometimes of him that hath advantage, as when he said, “The men of Nineveh shall rise up and shall condemn this generation, because they believed at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here;” and, “The queen of the south shall condemn this generation, because she came to hear the wisdom of Solomon;”8 and of an equal again, “They shall be your judges;”9 and again of one at advantage, “Know ye not, that we shall judge angels, how much more things that pertain to this life?”10
And here, however, it is of an equal; for he compares rich with rich, and poor with poor. And not in this way only doth He show the sentence justly passed, by their fellow-servants having done what was right when in the same circumstances, but also by their not being obedient so much as in these things in which poverty was no hindrance; as, for instance, in giving drink to the thirsty, in looking upon him that is in bonds, in visiting the sick. And when He had commended them that had done right, He shows how great was originally His bond of love towards them. For, “Come,” saith He, “ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” To how many good things is this same equivalent, to be blessed, and blessed of the Father? And wherefore were they counted worthy of such great honors? What is the cause? “I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink;” and what follows.
Of what honor, of what blessedness are these words? And He said not, Take, but, “Inherit,” as one’s own, as your Father’s, as yours, as due to you from the first. For, before you were, saith He, these things had been prepared, and made ready for you, forasmuch as I knew you would be such as you are.
And in return for what do they receive such things? For the covering of a roof, for a garment, for bread, for cold water, for visiting, for going into the prison. For indeed in every case it is for what is needed; and sometimes not even for that. For surely, as I have said, the sick and he that is in bonds seeks not for this only, but the one to be loosed, the other to be delivered from his infirmity. But He, being gracious, requires only what is within our power, or rather even less than what is within our power, leaving to us to exert our generosity in doing more.
But to the others He saith, “Depart from me, ye cursed,” (no longer of the Father; for not He laid the curse upon them, but their own works), “into the everlasting fire, prepared,” not for you, but “for the devil and his angels.” For concerning the kingdom indeed, when He had said, “Come, inherit the kingdom,” He added, “prepared for you before the foundation of the world;” but concerning the fire, no longer so, but, “prepared for the devil.” I, saith He, prepared the kingdom for you, but the fire no more for you, but “for the devil and his angels;” but since ye cast yourselves therein, impute it to yourselves. And not in this way only, but by what follows also, like as though He were excusing Himself to them, He sets forth the causes.
“For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat,” For though He that came to thee had been thine enemy, were not His sufferings enough to have overcome and subdued even the merciless? hunger, and cold, and bonds, and nakedness, and sickness. and to wander everywhere houseless? These things are sufficient even to destroy enmity. But ye did not these things even to a friend, being at once friend, and benefactor, and Lord. Though it be a dog we see hungry, often we are overcome; and though we behold a wild beast, we are subdued; but seeing the Lord, art thou not subdued? And wherein are these things worthy of defense?
For if it were this only, were it not sufficient for a recompense? (I speak not of hearing such a voice, in the presence of the world, from Him that sitteth on the Father’s throne, and of obtaining the kingdom), but were not the very doing it sufficient for a reward? But now even in the presence of the world, and at the appearing of that unspeakable glory, He proclaims and crowns thee, and acknowledges thee as His sustainer and host, and is not ashamed of saying such things, that He may make the crown brighter for thee.
So for this cause, while the one are punished justly, the others are crowned by grace. For though they had done ten thousand things, the munificence were of grace, that in return for services so small and cheap, such a heaven, and a kingdom, and so great honor, should be given them.
“And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished these sayings,11 He said unto His disciples, Ye know that after two days is the passover, and the Son of Man is betrayed to be crucified.”12 In good season again doth He speak of the passion, when He had reminded them of the kingdom, and of the recompense there, and of the deathless punishment; as though He had said, Why are ye afraid at the dangers that are for a season, when such good things await you? – Read the source: https://zenit.org/articles/archbishop-follo-the-heavenly-kingdom/
1 [So R. V. margin.] 2 [The Greek text condenses the narrative of the Gospel, altering the form in some places, as appears from the rendering given above.—R.] 3 “jrivfia, haedos, not capras; St. Jerome).
5 Os 6,6.
6 Mt 25,45 comp. verse Mt 25,40. [ “My brethren” is added here from verse 40. The order of words varies from that found in that sense.—R.] 7 .
8 Mt 12,41-42.
9 Mt 12,27.
10 1Co 6,3.
11 [R. V. “words;” the word “all”is omitted.—R.]
Reflection 13 – 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.”
Related Article/ videos click below:
REIGN OF CHRIST THE KING http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2017/11/22/reign-of-christ-the-king/
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
- Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings Proposed by the Consultation on Common Texts, Augsburg Fortress, 2005, p.p. 304-305, ISBN 0806649305
Reflection 14 – St. Columban (543?-615 A.D.)
Columban was the greatest of the Irish missionaries who worked on the European continent. As a young man who was greatly tormented by temptations of the flesh, he sought the advice of a religious woman who had lived a hermit’s life for years. He saw in her answer a call to leave the world. He went first to a monk on an island in Lough Erne, then to the great monastic seat of learning at Bangor.
After many years of seclusion and prayer, he traveled to Gaul (modern-day France) with 12 companion missionaries. They won wide respect for the rigor of their discipline, their preaching, and their commitment to charity and religious life in a time characterized by clerical laxity and civil strife. Columban established several monasteries in Europe which became centers of religion and culture.
Like all saints, he met opposition. Ultimately he had to appeal to the pope against complaints of Frankish bishops, for vindication of his orthodoxy and approval of Irish customs. He reproved the king for his licentious life, insisting that he marry. Since this threatened the power of the queen mother, Columban was deported to Ireland. His ship ran aground in a storm, and he continued his work in Europe, ultimately arriving in Italy, where he found favor with the king of the Lombards. In his last years he established the famous monastery of Bobbio, where he died. His writings include a treatise on penance and against Arianism, sermons, poetry and his monastic rule.
Now that public sexual license is becoming extreme, we need the Church’s jolting memory of a young man as concerned about chastity as Columban. And now that the comfort-captured Western world stands in tragic contrast to starving millions, we need the challenge to austerity and discipline of a group of Irish monks. They were too strict, we say; they went too far. How far shall we go?
Writing to the pope about a doctrinal controversy in Lombardy, Columban said: “We Irish, living in the farthest parts of the earth, are followers of St. Peter and St. Paul and of the disciples who wrote down the sacred canon under the Holy Spirit. We accept nothing outside this evangelical and apostolic teaching…. I confess I am grieved by the bad repute of the chair of St. Peter in this country…. Though Rome is great and known afar, she is great and honored with us only because of this chair…. Look after the peace of the Church, stand between your sheep and the wolves.”
Read the source: http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1210
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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columbanus
Saint Columbanus, stained glass window,Bobbio Abbey crypt
Leinster, Kingdom of Meath
|DIED||21 November 615
Bobbio, Kingdom of the Lombards
|VENERATED IN||Roman Catholic Church|
Columbanus (Irish: Columbán, 543 – 21 November 615) was an Irish missionary notable for founding a number ofmonasteries on the European continent from around 590 in the Frankish and Lombardkingdoms, most notably Luxeuil Abbey in present-day France and Bobbio Abbey in present-day Italy. He is remembered as a key figure in the Hiberno-Scottish mission, or Irish missionary activity in early medieval Europe.
Columbanus taught a Celtic monastic rule and Celtic penitential practices for those repenting of sins, which emphasised private confession to a priest, followed by penances levied by the priest in reparation for the sins. Columbanus is one of the earliest identifiable Hiberno-Latin writers.
The life of Columbanus was written by Jonas, an Italian monk of the Columban community at Bobbio, c. 643. Jonas lived during the abbacy of Attala, Columbanus’ immediate successor, and his sources had been companions of the saint. In the second volume of his Acta Sanctorum O.S.B., Mabillon gives the life in full, together with an appendix on the miracles of the saint, written by an anonymous member of the Bobbio community.
Columbanus (the Latinised form of Columbán, meaning the white dove) was born in the Kingdom of Meath, now part of Leinster, in Ireland in 543, the year Saint Benedict died at Monte Cassino.Prior to his birth, his mother was said to have had visions of bearing a child who, in the judgement of those interpreting the visions, would become a “remarkable genius”. Columbanus was well-educated in the areas of grammar, rhetoric, geometry, and the Holy Scriptures.
Columbanus left home to study under Sinell, Abbot of Cluaninis in Lough Erne.[Note 1] Under Sinell’s instruction, Columbanus composed a commentary on thePsalms. He then moved to Bangor Abbey on the coast of Down, where Saint Comgall was serving as the abbot. He stayed at Bangor until his fortieth year, when he received Comgall’s permission to travel to the continent.
Columbanus gathered twelve companions for his journey—Saint Attala, Columbanus the Younger, Cummain, Domgal (Deicolus), Eogain, Eunan, Saint Gall, Gurgano, Libran, Lua, Sigisbert, and Waldoleno—and together they set sail for the continent. After a brief stop in Great Britain, most likely on the Scottish coast, they crossed the channel and landed in Brittany in 585. At Saint-Maloin Brittany, there is a granite cross bearing the saint’s name to which people once came to pray for rain in times of drought. The nearby village of Saint-Coulomb commemorates him in name.
Columbanus and his companions were received with favour by King Gontram of Burgundy, and soon they made their way to Annegray, where they founded a monastery in an abandoned Roman fortress. Despite its remote location in theVosges Mountains, the community became a popular pilgrimage site that attracted so many monastic vocations that two new monasteries had to be formed to accommodate them. In 590, Columbanus obtained from King Gontram the Gallo-Roman castle called Luxovium in present-day Luxeuil-les-Bains, some eight miles from Annegray. The castle, soon transformed into a monastery, was located in a wild region, thickly covered with pine forests and brushwood. Columbanus erected a third monastery called Ad-fontanas at present-day Fontaine-lès-Luxeuil, named for its numerous springs.These monastic communities remained under Columbanus’ authority, and their rules of life reflected the Irish tradition in which he had been formed. As these communities expanded and drew more pilgrims, Columbanus sought greater solitude, spending periods of time in a hermitage and communicating with the monks through an intermediary. Often he would withdraw to a cave seven miles away, with a single companion who acted as messenger between himself and his companions.
During his twenty years in France, Columbanus became involved in a dispute with the French bishops who may have feared his growing influence. During the first half of the sixth century, the councils of Gaul had given to bishops absolute authority over religious communities. As heirs to the Irish monastic tradition, Columbanus and his monks used a version of Bishop Augustalis‘s 84-year computus for determining the date of Easter (Quartodecimanism), whereas the French had adopted theVictorian cycle of 532 years. The bishops objected to the newcomers continued observance of their own dating, which—among other issues—caused the end of Lentto differ. They also complained about the distinct Irish tonsure. In 602, the bishops assembled to judge Columbanus, but he did not appear before them as requested. Instead, he sent a letter to the prelates—a strange mixture of freedom, reverence, and charity—admonishing them to hold synods more frequently, and advising them to pay more attention to matters of equal importance to that of the date of Easter. In defence of his following his traditional paschal cycle, he wrote:
I am not the author of this divergence. I came as a poor stranger into these parts for the cause of Christ, Our Saviour. One thing alone I ask of you, holy Fathers, permit me to live in silence in these forests, near the bones of seventeen of my brethren now dead.
When the bishops refused to abandon the matter, Columbanus, following Saint Patrick’s canon, appealed directly to Pope Gregory I, sending him three letters, defending the Celtic custom with strong but affectionate words. In the third and only surviving letter, he asks “the holy Pope, his Father” to provide “the strong support of his authority” and to render a “verdict of his favour”, apologising for “presuming to argue as it were, with him who sits in the chair of Peter, Apostle and Bearer of the Keys”. None of the letters were answered, most likely due to the pope’s death in 604. Columbanus then sent a letter to Gregory’s successor, Pope Boniface IV, asking him to confirm the tradition of his elders—if it is not contrary to the Faith—so that he and his monks can follow the rites of their ancestors. Before Boniface responded, Columbanus moved outside the jurisdiction of the French bishops. Since the Celtic Easter issue appears to end around that time, Columbanus may have stopped celebrating Celtic Easter after moving to Italy.[Note 2]
Columbanus was also involved in a dispute with members of the French royal family. When King Theuderic II of Burgundy began living with a mistress, the saint objected, earning the displeasure of the king’s grandmother, Brunhilda of Austrasia, who thought a royal marriage would threaten her own power. The saint did not spare the demoralised court, and Brunhilda became his bitterest foe.Upon the death of King Gontram of Burgundy, the succession passed to his nephew,Childebert II, the son of Brunhilda. When Childebert II died, he left two sons, Theuderic II who inherited the Kingdom of Burgundy, and Theudebert II who inherited the Kingdom of Austrasia. Since both were minors, Brunhilda declared herself their guardian and controlled the governments of the two kingdoms.
Theuderic II venerated Columbanus and often visited him, but the saint admonished and rebuked him for his behaviour. Angered by the saint’s moral stand, Brunhilda stirred up the bishops and nobles to find fault with his monastic rules. When Theuderic II finally confronted Columbanus at Luxeuil, ordering him to conform to the country’s conventions, the saint refused and was then taken prisoner to Besançon. Columbanus managed to escape his captors and returned to his monastery at Luxeuil. When the king and his grandmother found out, they sent soldiers to drive him back to Ireland by force, separating him from his monks by insisting that only those from Ireland could accompany him into exile.
Columbanus was taken to Nevers, then travelled by boat down the Loire river to the coast. At Tours he visited the tomb of Saint Martin, and sent a message to Theuderic II indicating that within three years he and his children would perish. When he arrived at Nantes, he wrote a letter before embarkation to his fellow monks at Luxeuil monastery. Filled with love and affection, the letter urges his brethren to obey Attala, who stayed behind as abbot of the monastic community. The letter concludes:
They come to tell me the ship is ready. The end of my parchment compels me to finish my letter. Love is not orderly; it is this which has made it confused. Farewell, dear hearts of mine; pray for me that I may live in God.
Soon after the ship set sail from Nantes, a severe storm drove the vessel back ashore. Convinced that his holy passenger caused the tempest, the captain refused further attempts to transport the monk. Columbanus made his way across Gaul to visit King Chlothar II of Neustria at Soissons where he was gladly received. Despite the king’s offers to stay in his kingdom, Columbanus left Neustria in 611 for the court of King Theudebert II of Austrasia in the northeastern part of the Kingdom of the Merovingian Franks.
Columbanus travelled to Metz, where he received an honourable welcome, and then proceeding to Mainz, where he sailed upwards the Rhine river to the lands of the Suebi and Alemanni in the northern Alps, intending to preach the Gospel to these people. He followed the Rhine river and its tributaries, the Aar and the Limmat, and then on to Lake Zurich. Columbanus chose the village of Tuggenas his initial community, but the work was not successful.He continued north-east by way of Arbon to Bregenz on Lake Constance, where there were still some traces of Christianity. Here the saint found an oratory dedicated to Saint Aurelia containing three brass images of their tutelary deities. Columbanus commanded Gallus, who knew the local language, to preach to the inhabitants, and many were converted. The three brass images were destroyed, and Columbanus blessed the little church, placing the relics of Saint Aurelia beneath the altar. A monastery was erected,Mehrerau Abbey, and the brethren observed their regular life. Columbanus stayed in Bregenz for about one year. Following an uprising against the community, possibly related to that region being taken over by the saint’s old enemy King Theudebert II, Columbanus resolved to cross the Alps into Italy. Gallus remained in this area and died there 646. About seventy years later at the place of Gallus’ cell the Monastery of Saint Gall was founded, which in itself was the origin of the city ofSt. Gallen again about another three hundred years later.
Columbanus arrived in Milan in 612 and was warmly greeted by King Agilulf and Queen Theodelinda of theLombards.[Note 3] He immediately began refuting the teachings of Arianism, which had enjoyed a degree of acceptance in Italy. He wrote a treatise against Arianism, which has since been lost. Queen Theodelinda, the devout daughter of Duke Garibald I of Bavaria, played an important role in restoring Nicene Christianity to a position of primacy against Arianism, and was largely responsible for the king’s conversion to Christianity.
At the king’s request, Columbanus wrote a letter to Pope Boniface IV on the controversy over the Three Chapters—writings by Syrian bishops suspected of Nestorianism, which had been condemned in the fifth century as heresy. Pope Gregory I had tolerated in Lombardy those persons who defended the Three Letters, among them King Agilulf. Columbanus agreed to take up the issue on behalf of the king. The letter begins with an apology that a “foolish Scot (Scottus, Irishman)” would be writing for a Lombard king. After acquainting the pope with the imputations brought against him, he entreats the pontiff to prove his orthodoxy and assemble a council. He writes that his freedom of speech is consistent with the custom of his country. Some of the language used in the letter might now be regarded as disrespectful, but in that time, faith and austerity could be more indulgent. At the same time, the letter expresses the most affectionate and impassioned devotion to the Holy See.
We Irish, though dwelling at the far ends of the earth, are all disciples of Saint Peter and Saint Paul … we are bound to the Chair of Peter, and although Rome is great and renowned, through that Chair alone is she looked on as great and illustrious among us … On account of the two Apostles of Christ, you are almost celestial, and Rome is the head of the whole world, and of the Churches.
If Columbanus’ zeal for orthodoxy caused him to overstep the limits of discretion, his real attitude towards Rome is sufficiently clear, calling the pope “his Lord and Father in Christ”, the “Chosen Watchman”, and the “First Pastor, set higher than all mortals”.
King Agilulf gave Columbanus a tract of land called Bobbio between Milan and Genoa near the Trebbia river, situated in a defile of the Apennine Mountains, to be used as a base for the conversion of the Lombard people. The area contained a ruined church and wastelands known as Ebovium, which had formed part of the lands of the papacy prior to the Lombard invasion. Columbanus wanted this secluded place, for while enthusiastic in the instruction of the Lombards he preferred solitude for his monks and himself. Next to the little church, which was dedicated to Saint Peter, Columbanus erected a monastery in 614. Bobbio Abbey at its foundation followed the Rule of Saint Columbanus, based on the monastic practices of Celtic Christianity. For centuries it remained the stronghold of orthodoxy in northern Italy. [Note 4]
During the last year of his life, Columbanus received messenges from King Chlothar II, inviting the saint to return to Burgundy, now that his enemies were dead. Columbanus did not return, but requested that the king always protect his monks at Luxeuil Abbey. He prepared for death by retiring to his cave on the mountainside overlooking the Trebbia river, where, according to a tradition, he had dedicated an oratory to Our Lady. Columbanus died at Bobbio on 21 November 615.
Rule of Saint Columbanus
The Rule of Saint Columbanus embodied the customs of Bangor Abbey and other Celtic monasteries. Much shorter than theRule of Saint Benedict, the Rule of Saint Columbanus consists of ten chapters, on the subjects of obedience, silence, food, poverty, humility, chastity, choir offices, discretion, mortification, and perfection.
In the first chapter, Columbanus introduces the great principle of his Rule: obedience, absolute and unreserved. The words of seniors should always be obeyed, just as “Christ obeyed the Father up to death for us.” One manifestation of this obedience was constant hard labour designed to subdue the flesh, exercise the will in daily self-denial, and set an example of industry in cultivation of the soil. The least deviation from the Rule entailed corporal punishment, or a severe form of fasting. In the second chapter, Columbanus instructs that the rule of silence be “carefully observed”, since it is written: “But the nurture of righteousness is silence and peace”. He also warns, “Justly will they be damned who would not say just things when they could, but preferred to say with garrulous loquacity what is evil …” In the third chapter, Columbanus instructs, “Let the monks’ food be poor and taken in the evening, such as to avoid repletion, and their drink such as to avoid intoxication, so that it may both maintain life and not harm …”Columbanus continues:
For indeed those who desire eternal rewards must only consider usefulness and use. Use of life must be moderated just as toil must be moderated, since this is true discretion, that the possibility of spiritual progress may be kept with a temperance that punishes the flesh. For if temperance exceeds measure, it will be a vice and not a virtue; for virtue maintains and retains many goods. Therefore we must fast daily, just as we must feed daily; and while we must eat daily, we must gratify the body more poorly and sparingly …”
In the fourth chapter, Columbanus presents the virtue of poverty and of overcoming greed, and that monks should be satisfied with “small possessions of utter need, knowing that greed is a leprosy for monks”. Columbanus also instructs that “nakedness and disdain of riches are the first perfection of monks, but the second is the purging of vices, the third the most perfect and perpetual love of God and unceasing affection for things divine, which follows on the forgetfulness of earthly things. Since this is so, we have need of few things, according to the word of the Lord, or even of one.” In the fifth chapter, Columbanus warns against vanity, reminding the monks of Jesus’ warning in Luke 16:15: “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.” In the sixth chapter, Columbanus instructs that “a monk’s chastity is indeed judged in his thoughts” and warns, “What profit is it if he be virgin in body, if he be not virgin in mind? For God, being Spirit.”
In the seventh chapter, Columbanus instituted a service of perpetual prayer, known as laus perennis, by which choir succeeded choir, both day and night. In the eighth chapter, Columbanus stresses the importance of discretion in the lives of monks to avoid “the downfall of some, who beginning without discretion and passing their time without a sobering knowledge, have been unable to complete a praiseworthy life.” Monks are instructed to pray to God for to “illumine this way, surrounded on every side by the world’s thickest darkness”.Columbanus continues:
So discretion has got its name from discerning, for the reason that it discerns in us between good and evil, and also between the moderate and the complete. For from the beginning either class has been divided like light and darkness, that is, good and evil, after evil began through the devil’s agency to exist by the corruption of good, but through God’s agency Who first illumines and then divides. Thus righteous Abel chose the good, but unrighteous Cain fell upon evil.”
In the ninth chapter, Columbanus presents mortification as an essential element in the lives of monks, who are instructed, “Do nothing without counsel.” Monks are warned to “beware of a proud independence, and learn true lowliness as they obey without murmuring and hesitation.” According to the Rule, there are three components to mortification: “not to disagree in mind, not to speak as one pleases with the tongue, not to go anywhere with complete freedom.” This mirrors the words of Jesus, “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.” (John 6:38) In the tenth and final chapter, Columbanus regulates forms of penance (often corporal) for offences, and it is here that the Rule of Saint Columbanus differs significantly from that of Saint Benedict.
The habit of the monks consisted of a tunic of undyed wool, over which was worn the cuculla, or cowl, of the same material. A great deal of time was devoted to various kinds of manual labour, not unlike the life in monasteries of other rules. The Rule of Saint Columbanus was approved of by the Synod of Mâcon in 627, but it was superseded at the close of the century by the Rule of Saint Benedict. For several centuries in some of the greater monasteries the two rules were observed conjointly.
Columbanus did not lead a perfect life. According to Jonas and other sources, he could be impetuous and even headstrong, for by nature he was eager, passionate, and dauntless. These qualities were both the source of his power and the cause of his mistakes. His virtues, however, were quite remarkable. Like many saints, he had a great love for God’s creatures. Stories claim that as he walked in the woods, it was not uncommon for birds to land on his shoulders to be caressed, or for squirrels to run down from the trees and nestle in the folds of his cowl. Although a strong defender of his Celtic traditions, he never wavered in showing deep respect for the Holy See as the supreme authority. His influence in Europe was due to the conversions he effected and to the rule that he composed. It may be that the example and success of Saint Columba in Caledonia inspired him to similar exertions. The life of Columbanus stands as the prototype of missionary activity in Europe, followed by such men as Saint Kilian, Vergilius of Salzburg, Donatus of Fiesole, Wilfrid, Willibrord, Suitbert of Kaiserwerdt, Saint Boniface, and Ursicinus of Saint-Ursanne.
The following are the principal miracles attributed to his intercession:
- Procuring food for a sick monk and curing the wife of his benefactor
- Escaping injury while surrounded by wolves
- Causing a bear to evacuate a cave at his biddings
- Producing a spring of water near his cave
- Replenishing the Luxeuil granary
- Multiplying bread and beer for his community
- Curing sick monks, who rose from their beds at his request to reap the harvest
- Giving sight to a blind man at Orleans
- Destroying with his breath a cauldron of beer prepared for a pagan festival
- Taming a bear and yoking it to a plough
Jonas relates the occurrence of a miracle during Columbanus’ time in Bregenz, when that region was experiencing a period of severe famine.
Although they were without food, they were bold and unterrified in their faith, so that they obtained food from the Lord. After their bodies had been exhausted by three days of fasting, they found so great an abundance of birds, just as the quails formerly covered the camp of the children of Israel, that the whole country near there was filled with birds. The man of God knew that this food had been scattered on the ground for his own safety and that of his brethren, and that the birds had come only because he was there. He ordered his followers first to render grateful praises to the Creator, and then to take the birds as food. And it was a wonderful and stupendous miracle; for the birds were seized according to the father’s commands and did not attempt to fly away. The manna of birds remained for three days. On the fourth day, a priest from an adjacent city, warned by divine inspiration, sent a supply of grain to Saint Columban. When the supply of grain arrived, the Omnipotent, who had furnished the winged food to those in want, immediately commanded the phalanxes of birds to depart. We learned this from Eustasius, who was present with the others, under the command of the servant of God. He said that no one of them remembered ever having seen birds of such a kind before; and the food was of so pleasant savor that it surpassed royal viands. Oh, wonderful gift of divine mercy!
In France, the ruins of Columbanus’ first monastery at Annegray are legally protected through the efforts of the Association Internationale des Amis de St Columban, which purchased the site in 1959. The association also owns and protects the site containing the cave, which acted as Columbanus’ cell, and the holy well, which he created nearby. At Luxeuil-les-Bains, the Basilica of Saint Peter stands on the site of Columbanus’ first church. A statue near the entrance, unveiled in 1947, shows him denouncing the immoral life of King Theuderic II. Formally an abbey church, the basilica contains old monastic buildings, which have been used as a minor seminary since the nineteenth century. It is dedicated to Columbanus and houses a bronze statue of him in its courtyard.
In Lombardy, San Colombano al Lambro in Milan, San Colombano Belmonte in Turin, and San Colombano Certénoli in Genoa all take their names from the saint. The last monastery erected by Columbanus at Bobbio remained for centuries the stronghold of orthodoxy in northern Italy.
If Bobbio Abbey in Italy became a citadel of faith and learning, Luxeuil Abbey in France became the “nursery of saints and apostles”. The monastery produced sixty-three apostles who carried his rule, together with the Gospel, into France, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. These disciples of Columbanus are accredited with founding over one hundred different monasteries. The canton and town still bearing the name of St. Gallen testify to how well one of his disciples succeeded.
The remains of Columbanus are preserved in the crypt at Bobbio Abbey. Many miracles have been credited to his intercession. In 1482, the relics were placed in a new shrine and laid beneath the altar of the crypt. The sacristy at Bobbio possesses a portion of the skull of the saint, his knife, wooden cup, bell, and an ancient water vessel, formerly containing sacred relics and said to have been given to him by Pope Gregory I. According to some authorities, twelve teeth of the saint were taken from the tomb in the fifteenth century and kept in the treasury, but these have since disappeared.
Columbanus is named in the Roman Martyrology on 23 November, which is his feast day in Ireland. His feast is observed by the Benedictines on 24 November. Columbanus is the patron saint of motorcyclists. In art, Columbanus is represented bearded bearing the monastic cowl, holding in his hand a book with an Irish satchel, and standing in the midst of wolves. Sometimes he is depicted in the attitude of taming a bear, or with sun-beams over his head.
- Cluaninis is derived from the Irish words “Cluan Innish”, which mean “meadow and island”. The remains of the monastery can be seen at Bellanaleck, County Fermanagh.
- The Italians themselves followed a third system of reckoning Easter, based on the improvements to Victorius’s system introduced by Dionysius Exiguus at the time he devised the Anno Domini dating system.
- Some scholars believe that Columbanus made two journeys into Italy, which were confounded by Jonas. On his first journey, Columbanus went to Rome and received from Pope Gregory I sacred relics. This may possibly explain the traditional spot in St. Peter’s, where Pope Gregory I and Columbanus are supposed to have met.
- Bobbio Abbey may have been the model for the monastery in northern Italy in Umberto Eco‘s novel The Name of the Rose.
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- Smith 2012, p. 201.
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- Wallace 1995, p. 43.
- Jonas 643, p. 10.
- “Columbanus Today: Places of His Ministry”.Monastic Ireland. Retrieved15 January 2013.
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- Jonas 643, p. 17.
- Blackburn 1999, p. 767.
- Cusack 2002, p. 173.
- Stokes 2007, p. 132
- Moran 2010, p. 105
- Montalembert 1861, p. 440.
- Allnatt 2007, p. 105.
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- Montalembert 1898, II p. 405.
- Jonas 643, p. 54.
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- Ó Fiaich, Tomás (2012). Columbanus in His Own Words. Dublin: Veritas. ISBN 978-1847303578.
- O’Hara, Alexander (2015). Saint Columbanus: Selected Writings. Dublin: Veritas. ISBN 978-1847305879.
- Richter, Michael (2008). Bobbio in the Early Middle Ages: The Abiding Legacy of Columbanus