November 25, 2018

Christ, King

November 25, 2018:  Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

  • 'Crowns' tie:  One like a Son of man received dominion, glory, and kingship (1st reading); "The Lord is king" (psalm); Jesus Christ is the ruler of the kings of earth (2nd reading); "Are you the King of the Jews?" (gospel)
  • 'Ruler' suspenders:  Jesus Christ, 'ruler' of kings,... (2nd reading)
  • 'Blood drop' pin:  ...freed us from our sins by his blood (2nd reading)
  • 'Eyeball' pin:  Every eye will see him (2nd reading)
  • '?' tie pin:  "Are you the King of the Jews?" / "Do you say this on your own?" / "What have you done?" / "Then you are a king?" (gospel)
  • White shirt:  Liturgical color of Christ the King celebration
Today's feast reminds us life doesn't advance by chance but proceeds towards a goal:  the definitive manifestation of Christ, the Lord of history and creation.  In today's Gospel, Jesus has been dragged, bound and humiliated, before Pilate.  The religious authorities tell Pilate he wants to become king.  When Pilate asks Jesus if he is the king of the Jews. Jesus replies that his kingdom is not of this world.
After he multiplied the loaves, his followers wanted to crown him and restore the kingdom of Israel, but Jesus retreated to the mountain to pray.  In his response to Pilate, Jesus makes it clear that above political power there is a greater power not achieved by human means.  Jesus came to earth to exercise this power, love, to testify to the truth.  This truth, the central message of the Gospel, is that “God is love.”  Jesus worked to establish his everlasting kingdom of love, justice, and peace, an everlasting one, not like fragile kingdoms founded on arms and lies that collapse.
God's kingdom, founded on his love, grants peace, freedom, and full life to those who accept it.  May we let Jesus become our king, a king who by his word, example, and life saved us, points the way to the lost, and gives us new light.  He can give our life new meaning only if we don't follow the world's logic and ‘kings.’
  • Dn 7:13-14  One like a Son of man came and received glory and kingship; everyone serves him.  His kingship won't be destroyed.
  • Ps 93:1-2, 5  "The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty."  He made the world firm; his decrees are trustworthy.
  • Rv 1:5-8  Jesus Christ is ruler of the kings of the earth.  Glory to him who loves us, freed us from our sins, and made us into a kingdom, priests for his God.  He is coming, and every eye will see him.  "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the one who is, was, and is to come, the almighty."
  • Jn 18:33b-37  Pilate / Jesus:  "Are you the King of the Jews?" / "Do you say this on your own?" / "Your own nation handed you over.  What have you done?" / "My kingdom doesn't belong to this world." / "Then you are a king?" / "You say I am a king.  I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth.  Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to me."
  • Creighton:  Today we're called to recognize Christ as the rule/norm of our daily living, to share his values/preferences/choices....
  • One Bread, One Body:  "God's government":  Jesus is a benevolent and sovereign Lord.  We who believe in King Jesus will spend eternity with a blessed Ruler who loves us beyond measure.  No one can imagine what he has in store for us.  King Jesus gives an eternal wedding feast; He dies for us as we kill him (Catechism 598).  Everyone has access to him.  He came to serve his subjects and lay down his life out of love for us.  Many choose to serve gods of sex, money, power, greed, ambition, status, or pleasure-seeking or are imprisoned under the dictatorship of compulsion. May we decide to give our lives to Jesus, our King and Lord.
  • Passionist:  Jesus tells Pilate he’s not the kind of king Pilate imagines.  Pilate’s world is one of competition, fear, force. Little wonder Pilate is intimidated by Jesus. Jesus had no need to cling to status. He knew who he was, and he knew that his only purpose in this world was to testify to the truth.  Forgoing force is an overwhelming, crushing decision.  At Gethsemane Peter cuts off the High Priest's servant's ear; Jesus says, “No more” and heals him.  Princes of this world use power to dominate… but to be a follower, serve, wash feet, forgive, and love enemies.  The symbolic import is that the beginning of violence is the end of dialogue.  Combatants no longer hear one another.  How do I relate to truth?  Is Jesus my Lord, my king?  Who commands my love, rules my heart?  Does a person or thing take precedence over Jesus in my life?  What motivates, possesses, thrills me, makes me get up in the morning, makes me tick?  Something, someone, nothing?
  •  "My kingship is not of this world":  Jesus was crucified for his claim to be Messiah King.  God at first didn't want to give his people a king because he alone was their King, but he relented and promised he'd establish a Ruler and an eternal Kingdom.  The Jews understood the Messiah ("Anointed One") would restore paradise and establish God's reign of peace. They wanted a King to free them from strife, division, and foreign oppression; they didn't understand Jesus' kind of kingship.  Jesus came to deliver the world from bondage to sin, condemnation, and death into the kingdom of God's justice, peace, and joy.   He knew the way to victory was submission to his Father's will.  The Father sent his Son to save us.  Jesus was mocked for his claim to kingship, but he died King of the Jews and King of the nations.  He exchanged a throne of glory for a cross of shame to restore us from slavery to glory.  If we serve the Lord, he'll open us to his truth and guide us to our true home and security with God.  Which kingdom will I serve?

November 12, 2018


November 12, 2018:  St. Josaphat, Bishop and Martyr / Veterans Day

For the gospel
    • Look it up/ Presley, Orrall:  country song with verse about how hard it is for us to forgive ("forgiveness... what Jesus has in store for you, but I don't..."). This Bailey and Lowe cover avoids the original's bad language.Lyrics+
For Psalm 24
Pope Francis
Homily:  The Church, born amid zeal and disorder, accomplished admirable things.  Don't fear confusion and disorder.  The Church was never all in order or problem-free; confusion and disorder must be resolved, as the Council of Jerusalem resolved the struggle between judaizers and non-judaizers.  Paul left Titus in Crete to set things right and also provided criteria for the selection of bishops.
A bishop is a steward of God, not goods, power, or self-interest.  The bishop has to ask, "Am I an administrator of God or a businessman?"  The bishop must be irreproachable, sensible, just, holy, faithful to the Word, a master of himself who loves good and gives hospitality, not arrogant, conceited, ill-tempered, attached to money, or a heavy drinker.  Above all, bishops must be humble servants.Pray that our bishops may be like this.
To Pontifical Academy of Sciences:  The scientific world, because it's aware of the complexity of the world and human beings, is open to spiritual and religious values.  The relationship between values, people, society, and science demands rethinking that promotes advancement of each person and the common good.  Science identifies risks and can propose solutions.  There are 800 million needy and excluded persons lacking food and water.  The arms race must be halted and wars ended to develop sources of renewable energy and ensure water, food, and health for all.  May your research benefit all, so that all may be fed, given to drink, healed, and educated; may politics and economics learn from you how to advance towards the common good, for the benefit especially of those in need, and towards respect for our planet.
To Pontifical Lateran University Chancellor:  Students and staff must plant seeds of peace.  This begins with listening, professionalism, and dedication, accompanied by humility and the desire to be all things to all.
The need to prevent and resolve conflicts is growing.  The Church feels called to inspire and support each initiative that ensures a journey of peace.  We must listen and understand, but also study the assets of value and the instruments that drive us towards isolation, violence, and destruction.
The university must help find solutions to problems affecting peace, social harmony, the land, and the defense of life, human and civil rights.  The university symbolizes the integral humanity that always needs renewal and enrichment.  It must serve a missionary Church, first and foremost by addressing the younger generations.  We are to incarnate the Word of God without being afraid of risking and dreaming of peace for all.
  • Ti 1:1-9  Titus, I left you so that you might set right what remained to be done and appoint presbyters:  blameless, married only once, with believing children not licentious or rebellious.  A bishop must be blameless, not arrogant, irritable, aggressive, greedy, or a drunkard, but hospitable, good, temperate, just, holy, and self-controlled, holding fast to the true message, both to exhort and to refute opponents.
  • Ps 24:1b-4ab, 5-6  "Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face."  The Lord’s are the world and those who dwell in it.  Those with clean hearts, God will reward.
  • Lk 17:1-6  “Better for you to have a millstone around your neck and be thrown into the sea than to cause little ones to sin.  Rebuke sinners; forgive those who repent.  If you have mustard seed-sized faith, you'd say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey.”

  • CreightonJesus tells us to be on our guard against the sins around us, to be reconcilers, unifiers, bridge builders, healers, forgivers in the face of forces of division.  We need to reflect on whether the Spirit is behind our desires and to repent when we give into divisiveness.  Our faith, such as it is, can give us the courage to do so.  Let's start from our common faith in God's love, not our differences.
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Forgive":  We, Jesus' disciples made in God's image, must be like Jesus in every aspect of our conduct:  to work, suffer, give, love, and keep forgiving like God.  God's standard of forgiveness requires we give offenders affection, gifts, and honor.  God's grace makes it possible.
  • Passionist:  I think Paul’s list of requirements for Church leaders should apply to us all.  Are we humble, hospitable, just, holy, and self-controlled, living models of discipleship?  We have a long way to go before our parishes, ministries, and lives reflect Christ.  I put Paul's list on my bathroom mirror to remind myself of who I want to be, how I want to treat people, and what God is calling me to become, and to reflect on how I'm doing and where I could do better.  As we allow God better to use we'll transform the Church.
  • St. Josaphat
  •  "Increase our faith":  Two forces are at work in our lives:  temptation to sin, and faith to overcome obstacles to loving God and others.  The Greek for temptation (scandalon) is like 'scandal,' originally meaning trap or stumbling block causing one to fall.  Scripture warns us about the enticement to go astray:  "Keep me from the trap they've laid for me!" "In one who loves and lives in the light there's no cause for stumbling."  Jews considered it unforgivable to teach another to sin and so to set a sin train in motion.  Jesus warns his disciples not to set any stumbling blocks by giving offense or bad example; he also demonstrates that faith can overcome obstacles and temptation.  What appears impossible is possible to those who believe in God's power.  God expects more than we can do by ourselves, but the Holy Spirit helps us grow strong in faith, persevere in hope, and endure in love. Our joy and privilege is to follow the Lord and serve with his love and goodness....