Last Sunday after Pentecost
UNIVERSAL CHILDRENS DAY
Colossians, Chapter 1, Verse 19-20
19For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell, 20and through him to reconcile all things for him, making PEACE by the blood of his cross [through him], whether those on earth or those in heaven.
Peace by the blood
Saint John Henry Newman went even further in his shorter meditations on the Stations of the Cross…from the Twelfth Station, Jesus Dies Upon the Cross: “‘Consummatum est.’ It is completed. It has come to a full end. The mystery of God's love towards us is accomplished. The price is paid, and we are redeemed. The Eternal Father determined not to pardon us without a price, in order to show us especial favor. He condescended to make us valuable to Him. What we buy we put a value on. He might have saved us without a price, by the mere fiat of His will. But to show His love for us He took a price, which, if there was to be a price set upon us at all, if there was any ransom at all to be taken for the guilt of our sins, could be nothing short of the death of His Son in our nature. O my God and Father, Thou hast valued us so much as to pay the highest of all possible prices for our sinful souls and shall we not love and choose Thee above all things as the one necessary and one only good?” (available at www.newmanreader.org).
Before the awareness of such a staggering reality, how can we be callous? And yet indifference and coldness of heart abounds in our world and even in our homes and our pews. And yet, as the cycle of one Liturgical Year gives way to another with the beginning of Advent next week, there is a new opportunity before us. Scales can fall from our eyes so that we can see Christ revealed anew upon the throne of the Cross. Beneath the Cross and as those who have been redeemed, we can find an anchor in the chaos of our spinning word, to know the stability and firmness we so desperately long for. In the Liturgy and our living encounter with the Living God in prayer, our hearts can be refashioned by the fresh outpouring of His grace.
Dear friends, let us choose to discover and rediscover true contrition for our sins and a profound intention to embrace Christ as King in humble obedience to His Church. The Solemnity of Christ the King is a crescendo and culmination which draws our attention to the nobility of our King and to His lavish generosity on our behalf. This indeed is a high and mystical vision, but this is why our parish exists and this is what is opened up before us in each and every Holy Mass.
Our reasons for thanksgiving to God overflow, but chief among them is the truly staggering price of the Precious Blood of Jesus shed for us and offered for us in the Holy Eucharist.
ON KEEPING THE LORD'S DAY HOLY
The Celebration of the Creator's Work
"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth" (Gn 1:1)
10. Coming as it does from the hand of God, the cosmos bears the imprint of his goodness. It is a beautiful world, rightly moving us to admiration and delight, but also calling for cultivation and development. At the "completion" of God's work, the world is ready for human activity. "On the seventh day God finished his work which he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done" (Gn 2:2). With this anthropomorphic image of God's "work", the Bible not only gives us a glimpse of the mysterious relationship between the Creator and the created world, but also casts light upon the task of human beings in relation to the cosmos. The "work" of God is in some ways an example for man, called not only to inhabit the cosmos, but also to "build" it and thus become God's "co-worker". As I wrote in my Encyclical Laborem Exercens, the first chapters of Genesis constitute in a sense the first "gospel of work". This is a truth which the Second Vatican Council also stressed: "Created in God's image, man was commissioned to subdue the earth and all it contains, to rule the world in justice and holiness, and, recognizing God as the creator of all things, to refer himself and the totality of things to God so that with everything subject to God, the divine name would be glorified in all the earth".
The exhilarating advance of science, technology and culture in their various forms — an ever more rapid and today even overwhelming development — is the historical consequence of the mission by which God entrusts to man and woman the task and responsibility of filling the earth and subduing it by means of their work, in the observance of God's Law.
Twenty-Fourth (Last) Sunday after Pentecost
Grant, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, that, ever fixing our thoughts on reasonable things, we may perform, both in words and works, the things that are pleasing to Thee. Amen.
EPISTLE, i. Thess. i. 2-10.
Brethren: We give thanks to God always for you all: making a remembrance of you in our prayers without ceasing, being mindful of the work of your faith, and labor, and charity, and of the enduring of the hope of Our Lord Jesus Christ before God and our Father. Knowing, brethren beloved of God, your election: for our Gospel hath not been unto you in word only, but in power also, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much fulness, as you know what manner of men, we have been among you for your sakes. And you became followers of us, and of the Lord, receiving the word in much tribulation, with joy of the Holy Ghost: so that you were made a pattern to all that believe in Macedonia and in Achaia. For from you was spread abroad the word of the Lord, not only in Macedonia and in Achaia, but also in every place, your faith which is towards God, is gone forth, so that we need not to speak anything. For they themselves relate of us, what manner of entering in we had unto you; and how you turned to God from idols, to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven (Whom He raised up from the dead), Jesus Who hath delivered us from the wrath to come.
St. Paul wishes grace and peace to the Thessalonians; gives them the assurance of his prayers without ceasing and declares his joy at their having received the faith in Christ; at their being zealous in good works and firm in tribulation, and at their persevering in the hope of reward, whereby they became a pattern to others, who were led to embrace the true religion, and were confirmed in it by their example. Oh, that we could say the same of Christians of the present day! Such a life is- the glory of Christianity. Let us, therefore, endeavor to have a living faith, shining forth in all good works, with a firm hope of our salvation, that we too may be an example to unbelievers.
GOSPEL. Matt. xiii. 31-35.
At that time Jesus spoke to the multitudes this parable: The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard-seed, which a man took and sowed in his field: which is the least indeed of all seeds: but when it is grown up, it is greater than all herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and dwell in the branches thereof. Another parable He spoke to them: The kingdom of heaven is like to leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, until the whole was leavened. All these things Jesus spoke in parables to the multitudes: and without parables He did not speak to them. That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: I will open My mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden from the foundation of the world.
"Why are the Church and the doctrines of Christ compared to a grain of mustard-seed?
Because they are very similar: the mustard-seed, though small, in Palestine grows to be very high, spreads wide, and is very prolific. In like manner the Church and doctrine of Christ, though at the beginning very small, increased so fast, and in time reached such a large growth, as to surpass all other religions, so that the princes and wise men of the world sheltered themselves under the protection of Christianity, as the bird? dwell under the branches of the tree.
Why are the Church and the doctrines of Christ compared to leaven?
Because as leaven in a short time penetrates and makes palatable a large measure of meal, so the Church and the doc trines of Christ penetrated most rapidly three quarters of the globe, corrected the foolish opinions of the heathen, and gave them a taste lor divine things and heavenly wisdom.
Most amiable Jesus, we thank Thee for having called us to Thy Church, and for having communicated to us Thy doctrine. Give us grace to become by it each day better and more pleasing to Thee, and finally to attain eternal happiness. Enlighten also the nations living in heresy and darkness, that they may know Thee, and be delivered from the wrath to come. Amen.
Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
The Last Sunday of the Church Year
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
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
· 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
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.
The Ego and the King
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.
Universal Children's Day
Universal Children's Day aims to create a day of international fraternity and understanding between children all over the globe. The holiday's secondary purpose is to promote the objectives and ideals of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of the Child through activities and awareness. Children are the future of the planet, but they are a vulnerable group exposed to abuse and exploitation on a daily basis. As young dependents, children rely on adults for everything from food to shelter to education and it is imperative that their rights be heard if they are to survive and develop into the next generation of world citizens. Universal Children's Day was declared on in 1954 by the United Nations General Assembly as a day to be celebrated on November 20, the anniversaries of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, both of which protect the human rights of children.
Universal Children's Day Facts & Quotes
· The UN General Assembly adopted the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in November 1989. The United States drafted and signed the treaty; however, it is currently the only member county that has not ratified it, meaning that the US is not legally bound by the Convention. Ratifying the treaty would go against certain laws currently in place in the US, most notably, the treaty forbids life imprisonment without parole for children under 18.
· According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die every day as a result of poverty, often due to preventable diseases such as diarrhea and pneumonia.
· As of 2013, 21.8 million children worldwide in their first year of life had not received adequate vaccine doses against diseases such as tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis.
· The poor are hungry and their hunger traps them in poverty. - The World Food Program
· What is at stake is nothing less than the survival and well-being of a generation of innocents. - Antonia Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Universal Children's Day Top Events and Things to Do
· Read the Declaration of the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of the Child to learn more about how these treaties can impact your community.
· Spend the day playing with your children, your nieces and nephews, your grandchildren or other children that you know. Take them to the beach, a playground, a movie, or any other outing of their choosing.
· Donate your time to American organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters of America or UNICEF that constantly need volunteers to organize and execute activities for children in needy communities.
· Watch a movie that touches on children's rights. Our picks are In This World (2012), Arna's Children (2002) and Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
Catechism of the Catholic Church
PART THREE: LIFE IN CHRIST
SECTION ONE-MAN'S VOCATION LIFE IN THE SPIRIT
CHAPTER TWO-THE HUMAN COMMUNION
Article 2-PARTICIPATION IN SOCIAL LIFE
Article 3-SOCIAL JUSTICE
II. Equality and Differences Among Men
1934 Created in the image of the one God and equally endowed with rational souls, all men have the same nature and the same origin. Redeemed by the sacrifice of Christ, all are called to participate in the same divine beatitude: all therefore enjoy an equal dignity.
1935 The equality of men rests essentially on their dignity as persons and the rights that flow from it:
Every form of social or cultural discrimination in fundamental personal rights on the grounds of sex, race, color, social conditions, language, or religion must be curbed and eradicated as incompatible with God's design.
1936 On coming into the world, man is not equipped with everything he needs for developing his bodily and spiritual life. He needs others. Differences appear tied to age, physical abilities, intellectual or moral aptitudes, the benefits derived from social commerce, and the distribution of wealth. The "talents" are not distributed equally.
1937 These differences belong to God's plan, who wills that each receive what he needs from others, and that those endowed with particular "talents" share the benefits with those who need them. These differences encourage and often oblige persons to practice generosity, kindness, and sharing of goods; they foster the mutual enrichment of cultures:
I distribute the virtues quite diversely; I do not give all of them to each person, but some to one, some to others.... I shall give principally charity to one; justice to another; humility to this one, a living faith to that one.... and so I have given many gifts and graces, both spiritual and temporal, with such diversity that I have not given everything to one single person, so that you may be constrained to practice charity towards one another.... I have willed that one should need another and that all should be my ministers in distributing the graces and gifts they have received from me.
1938 There exist also sinful inequalities that affect millions of men and women. These are in open contradiction of the Gospel:
Their equal dignity as persons demands that we strive for fairer and more humane conditions. Excessive economic and social disparity between individuals and peoples of the one human race is a source of scandal and militates against social justice, equity, human dignity, as well as social and international peace.
· Unite in the work of the Porters of St. Joseph by joining them in fasting: Today's Fast: Reparations for offenses and blasphemies against God and the Blessed Virgin Mary
· Today in honor of the Holy Trinity do the Divine Office giving your day to God. To honor God REST: no shopping after 6 pm Saturday till Monday. Don’t forget the internet.
· Offering to the sacred heart of Jesus
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