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Saturday, November 23, 2019

Sunday, November 24, 2019


Last Sunday of Church Year
CHRIST KING OF UNIVERSE


Luke, Chapter 23, Verse 40
The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, “Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation?

This verse refers to the story of the good thief.

Theophilus of Alexandria: 'Crucifixion and the Good Thief'.[1]

The sun of righteousness appeared in the east and gave light to those who were in the darkness and in the shadow of death (Lk. 1:79) ...The powerful lion sprang up out of the wood; all the wild beasts hid in their dens…This, if you like, is the way of Our Lord Jesus Christ, when he saw the real enemy of the whole human race, who is the devil. For the devil invaded the whole earth, and afflicted everyone with many kinds of sins, which he spreads with these great scourges, namely, idolatry, robbery, vanity, fornication, theft, murder, slander, licentiousness, envy, hatred, contempt, anger, sorcery, pollution, fraud, arrogance, perjury, falsehood, corruption, prostitution, deceit and whatever is similar in them. These are the traps which the devil set for humanity, until he brought it to perdition and dispersed it. Well now. Let us consider in what way Christ the king made war against the devil until he released our souls from him and set them free. Let us begin, then, to penetrate the great treasure house full of the fruits of life.

·         This is the great holy mystery of the wood of the cross, on which the True God, Jesus Christ, mounted out of love. When he descended into this world, he came to the people of Israel and preached to them saying: 'Repent for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand.' (Mt. 4:17)
·         But they paid no heed to his holy counsels. After this he performed all the signs of his divinity in their presence, miracles without number. He made the blind see, the lame walk and the deaf hear. He healed lepers. He brought the dead back to life. He drove out demons. He made paralytics stand on their feet and forgave their sins. He made tax gatherers repent. He straightened vainglorious hands. He evangelized the poor. He remitted the sins of adulteresses and purified them with his divinity, restoring them to a virginal state. It was because an adulterous woman was made worthy of this great grace that her hands anointed the feet of him who had created her. (Lk. 7 37-8) From the moment she participated in the purity of his divinity, the voice of God came to her. 'Your faith has saved you; go in peace.' (Lk. 7:50)
·         In spite of all these things accomplished by him in their presence, they did not give him credence, but seized him and delivered him to be crucified. Having brought him into the court of the High Priest, they treated him with contempt rather than honor. Then the word of scripture was fulfilled. They brought evils upon me instead of blessings, and hatred instead of my love.' (Ps. 108:5)
·         What then are the evils which the people he created, the people who killed him, did to him? They are terrible to describe or to hear. My tongue trembles, my eye weeps, my spirit groans, my soul is distressed to utter them. It is God that they have seized, the Lord that they have bound. They have pierced with nails the hands of them who created them. They slapped the face of their Lord. They beat his head with their fists. They placed a crown of thorns on his head. They dressed him in a purple cloak. They gave him vinegar and gall. On this day they did all these things to him. They crucified him with two thieves. One of them, who was unworthy of the division of his divinity, said to the Lord, deriding him: 'If you are the Christ, save yourself and us.' (Lk 23:39).
·         The other replied rebuking him with indignation: 'Do you not fear God? We are receiving the reward of our sins which we have committed, but this man has done nothing wrong.' And he said, 'Jesus. remember me when you come into your kingdom.' And Jesus said to him with great joy: 'Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.' The gate of Paradise has been closed since the time when Adam transgressed, but I will open it today, and receive you in it. Because you have recognized the nobility of my head on the cross, you who have shared with me in the suffering of the cross will be my companion in the joy of my kingdom. You have glorified me in the presence of carnal men, in the presence of sinners. I will therefore glorify you in the presence of the angels. You were fixed with me on the cross, and you united yourself with me of your own free will. I will therefore love you, and my Father will love you, and the angels will serve you with my holy food. If you used once to be a companion of murderers, behold, I who am the life of all have now made you a companion with me. You used once to walk in the night with the sons of darkness; behold I who am the light of the whole world have now made you walk with me. You used once to take counsel with murderers; behold, I who am the Creator have made you a companion with me. 'All these things I will pardon you because you have confessed my divinity in the presence of those who have denied me. For they saw all the signs which I performed, but did not believe in me. You, then, a rapacious robber, a murderer, a brigand, a swindler, a plunderer have confessed that I am God. That is why I have pardoned your many sins, because you have loved much (Lk. 7:47). I will make you a citizen of Paradise. I will wash your body so that it will not see corruption before I resurrect it with me on the third day and take you up with me. The other who has denied me will see you enveloped in glory, but he will be enveloped in pain and same. He will see you surrounded by light, but he will be surrounded by darkness. He will see you in a state of joy and happiness, but he will be in a state of weeping and groaning. He will see you enjoying ease and benediction, but he will be suffering oppression and malediction. He will see you refreshed by the angels, but he will be troubled by the powers of darkness. And in the midst of intense cold the worm that never rests will consume him. Not only did he not confess me, but after having denied me he reviled me. 'For this reason all will receive according to their works. For as I have already said to them explicitly and in public: Everyone who acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.' (Mt. 10:32-3).

So now, brethren, what torment the man who denied the Lord brought upon himself? We should therefore watch over ourselves that we should not be led astray, that for the sake of things of this life, we should not be made strangers to him who has created us. Perhaps there is someone today who is denying God for the sake of riches because the love of money closes the eyes of those who are given to it. Such a person takes the part of Judas, He has sold the Lord for thirty pieces of silver. It is therefore good for us to direct our concerns towards the Lord since it is he who takes care of us. Let us now turn to the goal proposed to us by the cross. For the ladder which Jacob contemplated that was fixed to the ground and reached up to heaven on which the angel of the Lord ascended and descended (Gen. 28:12), is Our Lord Jesus Christ raised up on the wood of the cross.


The Ego and the King[2]

On the last Sunday of the liturgical year, we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. Now see how he takes our nature out of love in His passion; Jesus is alone; the crowds who sang ‘hosanna!’ as he entered Jerusalem just five days previously are now shouting, ‘Crucify him!’  He has been accused unjustly. His mission has all but collapsed. His friends have run away; one of them has sold him, another says that he does not even know him.  And now he stands before the most powerful person in the land on a falsified charge.  This is a really bad day, and it is about to get worse.  He will be flogged; he will walk the way of the Cross ... what happens next is well known to us all.  It is a day which seems, by our normal standards, to be characterized by failure and abandonment.  This is not our usual idea of what happens to a king. What we have here are two worlds, two kingdoms that come face to face as Jesus stands before Pilate. On the one side we have this earthly ruler representing the most successful empire the world had ever seen, a man with economic, political and military power; a successful man, with a reputation. This is someone to be taken seriously. And in Jesus we have God’s world, the Kingdom of God personified, and a completely different set of values where we are not subjects or slaves, but we are now friends. We are not equals; God is the Creator, the maker and author of all, but our relationship with God has been restored. We have a king who rules over an eternal kingdom which, in the Preface of the Eucharistic Prayer for this feast, is described as:

·         a kingdom of truth and life,
·         a kingdom of holiness and grace,
·         a kingdom of justice, love and peace.

But which world do we value?  Inevitably as Christians we inhabit both of these worlds, we move between them.  We may spend six days a week living in one kingdom, but only one matters, and we know which one, but it is often hard to choose.  Pilate represents one kingdom; Jesus represents the other. In the Nicene Creed there are only two people (apart from Jesus) that are mentioned by name – Pilate and Mary – and again they show this same contrast: Pilate is wealthy, powerful, male, successful, secure, safely married; he has most of the things that many of us desire.  Mary on the other hand, at the Annunciation, is a young woman, pregnant out of wedlock and therefore suspect, and at risk of exclusion from the Jewish community.  She is one of the anawim, the voiceless, the poor who yearn for good news.  Few of us desire to be like this. We have these two worlds, two kingdoms.  Only one of them is the Kingdom of God; only one of them is true, eternal and universal.  But which do we choose? Which do we hope for?  For which am I ambitious?  If we are honest with ourselves, very often we would rather be Pilate. But it is not about us, it is about Jesus.  He is king, no one else.  To talk of kingship or lordship can evoke images of oppressive or coercive systems, but for Jesus kingship is about humility and service.  This feast is not to flatter a king with a fragile ego in need of reassurance, but to celebrate in gratitude the love and kindness of someone who is so committed to us that he will not compromise even in the face of the most powerful in the land, and who will not baulk even at death itself.  The image of the Shepherd King may not be an especially rich one for most of us, but it was immensely powerful for the people of Israel, evoking ideas of care and love.  All of this is in contrast to the kingship of power and domination, the reigns of kings that do not have the best interests of everyone at heart.  This is the king who is lord over life and death and all there is. There is plenty of ambition in this world; that is not necessarily a bad thing.  But Christians are called to be ambitious for the Kingdom, not for ourselves; to seek power not in order to dominate, but to serve.  The only throne that this king found was the cross.  We are not to seek thrones of glory on which we can be admired, and if we do get them then we ought to pray for a very large dose of humility; we are to pray before the Throne of Glory from which we will receive mercy, love and hope. In a world where we are so often encouraged to seek power and success, it can be difficult to accept the truth of this; however, this truth is not a proposition or an idea, but a person to get to know.  ‘Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice’, says Jesus – and Pilate does not hear him.  One of the reasons the Church says that each Sunday is a Holy Day of Obligation is because in order to get to know this person, in order to be people of the truth we have to meet him – in the Word and sacrament – and spend time with him, listen to his voice: to find out about the Kingdom of God. This is not easy, and we need the support of each other, the support of the Church.  We, like Jesus, will probably encounter denial or betrayal.  Like Judas and Peter, we may at times betray or deny him; these are risks for us also.  But Christians are future-oriented people, and we are asked to have a vision of a better world, not just in the next life but in this, and to dream of a kingdom in which Christ is the king.  We are people of hope –people who, in the future, can be free from our past and the worst we have done: our spectacular sins – the betrayals, the denials; and our mundane, ordinary and petty ones.  But this hope is fragile and needs to be protected.  In the Mass for the Feast of Christ the King we are asked to bring our worst to the Lord, to bring our nightmares and our horror.  Our nightmare can be turned into dreams of hope; there is a future, death is not the end, Good Friday is followed by the resurrection.  God will make all things new.  The life, death and resurrection of Jesus show us this.  Bring your best and your worst, your dreams and your nightmares to the altar.  We have a king who can cope with that, a king who can cope with us.  Thank God for that. 

Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe The Last Sunday of the Church Year[3]

The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, formerly referred to as "Christ the King," was established by Pope Pius XI in 1925 as an antidote to secularism, a way of life which leaves God out of man's thinking and living and organizes his life as if God did not exist. The feast is intended to proclaim in a striking and effective manner Christ's royalty over individuals, families, society, governments, and nations. Today's Mass establishes the titles for Christ's royalty over men:

1) Christ is God, the Creator of the universe and hence wields a supreme power over all things; "All things were created by Him";

2) Christ is our Redeemer, He purchased us by His precious Blood, and made us His property and possession;

3) Christ is Head of the Church, "holding in all things the primacy";

4) God bestowed upon Christ the nations of the world as His special possession and dominion.

Today's Mass also describes the qualities of Christ's kingdom. This kingdom is:

1) supreme, extending not only to all people but also to their princes and kings;

2) universal, extending to all nations and to all places;

3) eternal, for "The Lord shall sit a King forever";

4) spiritual, Christ's "kingdom is not of this world." —

Indeed, we all are called to be fishers of men; the Lord calls all; truly we are not powerless for He gives us his very flesh that we may become Christ to everyone we encounter.

Christ the King as Represented in the Liturgy

The liturgy is an album in which every epoch of Church history immortalizes itself. Therein, accordingly, can be found the various pictures of Christ beloved during succeeding centuries. In its pages we see pictures of Jesus suffering and in agony; we see pictures of His Sacred Heart; yet these pictures are not proper to the nature of the liturgy as such; they resemble baroque altars in a gothic church. Classic liturgy knows but one Christ: the King, radiant, majestic, and divine.

With an ever-growing desire, all Advent awaits the "coming King"; in the chants of the breviary we find repeated again and again the two expressions "King" and "is coming." On Christmas the Church would greet, not the Child of Bethlehem, but the Rex Pacificus — "the King of peace gloriously reigning." Within a fortnight, there follows a feast which belongs to the greatest of the feasts of the Church year -- the Epiphany. As in ancient times oriental monarchs visited their principalities (theophany), so the divine King appears in His city, the Church; from its sacred precincts He casts His glance over all the world....On the final feast of the Christmas cycle, the Presentation in the Temple, holy Church meets her royal Bridegroom with virginal love: "Adorn your bridal chamber, O Sion, and receive Christ your King!" The burden of the Christmas cycle may be summed up in these words: Christ the King establishes His Kingdom of light upon earth!

If we now consider the Easter cycle, the luster of Christ's royal dignity is indeed somewhat veiled by His sufferings; nevertheless, it is not the suffering Jesus who is present to the eyes of the Church as much as Christ the royal Hero and Warrior who upon the battlefield of Golgotha struggles with the mighty and dies in triumph. Even during Lent and Passiontide the Church acclaims her King. The act of homage on Palm Sunday is intensely stirring; singing psalms in festal procession we accompany our Savior singing: Gloria, laus et honor tibi sit, Rex Christe, "Glory, praise and honor be to Thee, Christ, O King!" It is true that on Good Friday the Church meditates upon the Man of Sorrows in agony upon the Cross, but at the same time, and perhaps more so, she beholds Him as King upon a royal throne. The hymn Vexilla Regis, "The royal banners forward go," is the more perfect expression of the spirit from which the Good Friday liturgy has arisen. Also characteristic is the verse from Psalm 95, Dicite in gentibus quia Dominus regnavit, to which the early Christians always added, a ligno, "Proclaim among the Gentiles: the Lord reigns from upon the tree of the Cross!" During Paschal time the Church is so occupied with her glorified Savior and Conqueror that kingship references become rarer; nevertheless, toward the end of the season we celebrate our King's triumph after completing the work of redemption, His royal enthronement on Ascension Thursday.

Neither in the time after Pentecost is the picture of Christ as King wholly absent from the liturgy. Corpus Christi is a royal festival: "Christ the King who rules the nations, come, let us adore" (Invit.). In the Greek Church the feast of the Transfiguration is the principal solemnity in honor of Christ's kingship, Summum Regem gloriae Christum adoremus (Invit.). Finally at the sunset of the ecclesiastical year, the Church awaits with burning desire the return of the King of Majesty.

We will overlook further considerations in favor of a glance at the daily Offices. How often do we not begin Matins with an act of royal homage: "The King of apostles, of martyrs, of confessors, of virgins — come, let us adore" (Invit.). Lauds is often introduced with Dominus regnavit, "The Lord is King". Christ as King is also a first consideration at the threshold of each day; for morning after morning we renew our oath of fidelity at Prime: "To the King of ages be honor and glory." Every oration is concluded through our Mediator Christ Jesus "who lives and reigns forever." Yes, age-old liturgy beholds Christ reigning as King in His basilica (etym.: "the king's house"), upon the altar as His throne.

Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch

Exhortation[4]

The most holy council, then, earnestly entreats all the laity in the Lord to answer gladly, nobly, and promptly the more urgent invitation of Christ in this hour and the impulse of the Holy Spirit. Younger persons should feel that this call has been directed to them especially and they should respond to it eagerly and generously. The Lord renews His invitation to all the laity to come closer to Him every day, recognizing that what is His is also their own (Phil. 2:5), to associate themselves with Him in His saving mission. Once again, He sends them into every town and place where He will come (cf. Luke 10:1) so that they may show that they are co-workers in the various forms and modes of the one apostolate of the Church, which must be constantly adapted to the new needs of our times. Ever productive as they should be in the work of the Lord, they know that their labor in Him is not in vain (cf. 1 Cor. 15:58).
Things to Do[5]

·         A procession for Christ the King on this feast day, either in the Church or at home is appropriate for this feast. The Blessed Sacrament would be carried, and the procession would end with a prayer of consecration to Christ the King and Benediction. Try to participate if your parish has a Christ the King procession. If not, try having one at home (minus the Blessed Sacrament).
·         Read Pope Pius XI's encyclical Quas primas (On the Feast of Christ the King) which shows that secularism is the direct denial of Christ's Kingship.
·         Learn more about secularism - read the Annual Statement of the Bishops of the United States released on November 14, 1947.
·         Being a relatively newer feast on the Liturgical calendar, there are no traditional foods for this day. Suggested ideas: a wonderful family Sunday dinner, and bake a cake shaped as a crown or King Cake or a bread in shape of a crown in honor of Christ the King.
·         A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful, who piously recite the Act of Dedication of the Human Race to Jesus Christ King. A plenary indulgence is granted; if it is recite publicly on the feast of our Lord Jesus Christ King.


Octave of Christ the King[1]

Upon research I have discovered there is no Octave of Christ the King of the Universe. However, I propose to make a retreat; an octave from now through the first Sunday of Advent.
The "eighth day" or octava dies was associated with the weekly Christian celebration of the resurrection of Christ every "eighth day", which became a name for Sunday. As circumcision was performed on the "eighth day" after birth, the number 8 became associated also with baptism, and baptismal fonts have from an early date often been octagonal. The practice of octaves was first introduced under Constantine I, when the dedication festivities of the basilicas at Jerusalem and Tyre, Lebanon were observed for eight days. After these one-off occasions, annual liturgical feasts began to be dignified with an octave. The first such feasts were Easter, Pentecost, and, in the East, Epiphany. This occurred in the fourth century and served as a period of time for the newly baptized to take a joyful retreat.

·         I plan to attend Mass daily or via EWTN or the internet
·         Mediate on the virtues of Mary (Humility, Generosity, Chastity, Patience, Temperance, Understanding/love and Wisdom. One for each day.
·         Fast doing the Daniel fast (Monday-Saturday).
·         Exercise-Universal Man Plan.


Daily Devotions
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         54 Day Rosary day 24
·         Today in honor of the Holy Trinity do the Divine Office giving your day to God. To honor God REST: no shopping after SUNSET ON SATURDAY till Monday. Don’t forget the internet.



[3]http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/calendar/day.cfm?date=2017-11-26

On Friday my grandson Philip Matthew was born in anticipation of Christ King of the Universe-His name means; Lover of horses-gift of God.



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